As Team India began their training in Sri Lanka for the upcoming bilateral series on Saturday, things have started to get out of hands for their counterparts. With so much drama going on around the pay dispute between the players and the board, there is a likely possibility that the home side might also have to play with a second-string squad, just like India (but for different reasons).
The Men in Blue will be playing with a new-look team as all the senior members are currently in England for Test series. However, the home side might be forced to take this step because of the reluctance of players (currently in the UK) to sign contracts with the board. Notably, Kusal Perera led side left for the UK after signing a voluntary declaration form but the board are not going to accept the same anymore.
Players will have to sign contract to be eligible for selection
As per reports, Sri Lanka Cricket's Chairman of Selectors - Pramodya Wickramasinghe has made it very clear that signing the contract is mandatory for players to be eligible for selection for upcoming series against India. If the players fail to do so, the board is considering the option of including youngsters who are part of the pool of 39 contracted players (who are not part of team currently in England).
"These players are currently practicing and playing matches and we will consider them for selection for the Indian series. We have still not selected the squad for the series with India, we will do that after Sunday’s third and final ODI against England,” said Wickramasinghe.
8 players already set to be unavailable
Earlier, five players (who are currently in Sri Lanka) who refused to sign the tour contract for India series have already been left out from the national camp. The players include - Vishwa Fernando, Lasith Embuldeniya, Lahiru Kumara, Ashen Bandara and Kasun Rajitha.
In addition to these 5, the trio of Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella could also be unavailable due to a possible ban. With so many key players already absent, things could get pretty messy if Kusal Perera and Co. refuse to sign the contracts.