mathews2      Chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya will meet with the locked out players on Sunday evening, SLC president Upali Dharmadasa said. It is expected to be a personal attempt on Jayasuriya’s part to break the deadlock between SLC and the players, and possibly aimed at selecting a full-strength squad for the first Test against Bangladesh on Friday.

The dispute could also prevent the Sri Lanka cricketers form playing in the IPL but Nishantha Ranatunga, the SLC secretary, was hopeful the stand-off would be resolved before the IPL began; both the players and the SLC stand to lose if the participation is affected, as the board receives 10% of player salaries in the IPL for providing them No Objection Certificates to play in the league.

Jayasuriya’s selection panel was due to name a squad for the first Test against Bangladesh on Sunday afternoon, but has delayed the announcement until after the meeting. The original deadline for signing contracts was March 2, but none of the 60 players who have been offered contracts have yet signed with the board.

Jayasuriya had personally set up the meeting with the players after informing board officials. Jayasuriya was a guest of honour on the first day of the tour match currently being played in his home town of Matara, but had left the ground early in the afternoon.

Meanwhile Ranatunga said he expected the players to sign before complications around the IPL arose. “I don’t think we will get into that kind of a problem because I am confident the players will sign,” he said. “We will see how it goes.” The IPL begins on April 3

Players require NOC’s from their home boards to play in the IPL regardless of whether or not they are centrally contracted. Although Sri Lanka’s players are likely to already have secured NOCs from the board at the time of their signing with a franchise, Ranatunga said there was a possibility the players could find themselves unable to play in the tournament.”We can issue NOCs. We can withdraw NOCs. But we have not taken any decision to that effect so far.”

SLC moved to accommodate the IPL’s full 2013 schedule when they agreed to cancel two Tests in the West Indies, which would have required players to leave the tournament early. Incidentally, one of the sticking points in the contract dispute is SLC’s refusal to pay players their regular salary for as long as they are with their IPL team.

Both Ranatunga and the SLC chief executive Ajit Jayasekara reiterated the board’s commitment to the lock-out on Sunday, as long as contracts remain unsigned, and Jayasekara said the board would not issue fresh NOCs to players who have not already obtained certificates.

“We will not give them NOCs, they will not get anything,” Jayasekara said. “They will not get picked, they will not use any of our facilities – nothing.” (espncricinfo)


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