By Harsha Amarasinghe
The exclusion of Kandy wing three quarter Anurudda Wilwara from the pool of 20 contracted 7's players has sparked controversy within the country's rugby community.
Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) last week revealed the 20 players who are set to be handed contracts which will see each of them earn a monthly salary of Rs. 50,000.
However, arguably the finest wing three quarter in the county, Wilwara was not included in the group despite being the highest try scorer of the ongoing Dialog Inter-Club League Rugby Tournament.
The former S. Thomas’ speedster has been one of the most consistent 7's players and a regular try scorer for the county. In fact the veteran back division player was the only player to have scored during the World Sevens Series qualifiers 2017 after which he sustained an injury.
The selection committee chairman, Michael Jayasekara in an interview with the Daily Mirror expressed that Wilwara was not picked as the wing three quarter had not informed of his availability.
"He (Wilwara) had informed us a couple of months ago that he would not be available for the third leg of the Asia 7’s Series due to an injury. After that he has not communicated with us, which makes it impossible for us to select him," Jayasekara stated.
However, since then Wilwara has played two preseason games and three league games for Kandy Sports Club scoring as many as nine tries while also claiming he is ready and more than happy to represent Sri Lanka, in an interview with a national newspaper.
"He has to inform us (the selection panel) and it's only after that, that we are able to consider him for selection," added Jayasekara.
When contacted by the Daily Mirror, Wilwara insisted that he has already informed of his availability and is expecting a positive response from SLR.
Meanwhile, some senior players including Nigel Ratwatte and Gayan Weeraratne have all been overlooked for contracts while certain Under-23s in the form of Adeesha Weeratunga, Supun Dilshan, Rehan Silva and Dinuk Amarasinghe have been named in the pool.
"Nigel has not played for Sri Lanka in recent times so we can't pick him and Gayan Weeraratne has not shown interest in representing Sri Lanka. He has not been to practises and not informed us of his availability either. So we are unable to select him," he said.