Sports News

A major player exodus!

Fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera, who played for Sri Lanka in nine Tests since 2015, is allegedly one of the leading local players who are to migrate to USA soon

Depressed, distressed, and disheartened, a large number of Sri Lanka national and first-class cricketers are planning to migrate to USA for professional cricket, sending shockwaves to country’s cricket future, The Morning learnt.

“A lot of players will soon go to America. It will happen in two categories, as emerging and national. National player Shehan Jayasuriya has already gone. Around 15 more to follow him by March,” one inside source said on Monday (15).

The players who are to retire and migrate to play for USA soon include allegedly leading players such as Upul Tharanga, Dushmantha Chameera, Amila Aponso, Malinda Pushpakumara, Dilshan Munaweera, Lahiru Madushanka, Manoj Sarathchandra and Nishan Peiris.

“After the cricket board’s recent proposal to reduce money and not to extend our (second-level squads’) annual contracts, many players are planning to go. They are paid a minimum of $ 50,000 (approximately Rs. 9.7 million) per year in the US. USA is presently hiring players from various Test countries to form a good national side,” an SLC emerging category player, who has applied to go to USA to play professional cricket there, told The Morning Sports.

“There will be a major player exodus happening. There is no strong future that is assured for us here in Sri Lanka,” he added on the condition of anonymity. He also added a lot players will go to USA next month.

“The continued overlooking by the national selectors is another issue. There was obvious favouritism prevailing under so many Head Coaches and Selection Committee Heads before,” he lamented.

“We dedicated our school education for our cricket. We can’t find a suitable job now. There are no series for Sri Lanka in near future. If the cricket board is not paying us and looking after us, why are we to miss this opportunity? We can at least try to play for USA,” he further said.