Lasith Malinga said today that he will be available for all national commitments, even though he may choose not to sign a contract with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).
Malinga is likely be offered a contract that is 60-percent less than what players in the same top-level category earn, as he no longer plays Test cricket. Although unlikely, if he does accept, Sri Lanka’s number-one fast bowler will be tied to a SLC contract for US$ 40,000.
Non-contracted players earn an extra 25-percent in match fees and daily allowances. They are also not bound by SLC’s restrictive clauses, which prevent players from speaking to the media or leaving Sri Lanka on personal travel without SLC approval.
The 28-year-old said today, that contrary to recent media reports suggesting he had declined to sign a contract with SLC this year, he had not yet been offered a contract to refuse.
“No contracts have been offered yet for this year for any of the players,” Malinga told Island Cricket today from Colombo.
“But whether I decide to play with or without [a] contract, does not really matter as I am still 100-percent available for selection for all ODI and T20 commitments for Sri Lanka just like I was last year.”
Malinga played as a non-contracted player from March 2011 - February 2012 but made himself available for all of Sri Lanka’s limited-over fixtures. He turned down offers last year to play in tournaments in Australia, South Africa and England.
After breaking down midway through a Test series against India in 2010, Malinga chose to prolong his injury-prone career by playing just ODIs and T20s. He announced his retirement from Test cricket in 2011, much to the wrath of local media and fans, who accused Malinga of being driven by money and giving limited-over cricket, including the Indian Premier League (IPL), more prominence than Test cricket.
In an interview with Island Cricket last year, Malinga explained that in the lead-up to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 it was decided by team management to not risk bowling him in Test cricket. However, post-World Cup, with changes to the selection panel and Duleep Mendis at the helm, the attitude of the selectors had changed.
Mendis, who has since been replaced by Ashantha de Mel, ordered the bowler to return to Sri Lanka from the IPL last year if he could not make himself available for Sri Lanka’s Test tour to England, which forced Malinga to hastily announce his retirement from the five-day game.
While announcing his Test retirement, Malinga told reporters SLC had failed to renew his contract and “there was no other source of income” when he was injured in 2008 and unable to play for 16 months as a result.
“The administrators did not bother to look into my well-being and this created a doubt about the future of my career,” he said at the time.
“With such a bad experience, how can I look forward to trust the SLC administrators?”
Malinga is currently in Sri Lanka after returning from the IPL with a sore back. He expects to return to India later this week. (Source: islandcricket)