Sri Lanka batter Dinesh Chandimal has asked SLC and its technical committee for clarity about his future in the national team.
In a letter addressed to the head of the technical committee Aravinda de Silva, which also has several SLC officials copied, Chandimal asked for “an opportunity to meet with you and the respected committees to discuss my future, in playing cricket for Sri Lanka”.
This letter comes in the wake of news that Angelo Mathews is considering retirement, and only months after Thisara Perera announced his own retirement.
Essentially, this is more of a fallout from the recent contracts saga. SLC’s technical committee – which comprises de Silva, Kumar Sangakkara, Muttiah Muralitharan and Roshan Mahanama – had been instrumental in devising a new contracts scheme, which proved to be unpopular with the senior players in particular. After a long contracts stand-off, though, SLC withdrew the annual contracts they had offered basically as a punishment for rejecting the contracts in the first place, which means that cricketers who mostly play Tests – such as Chandimal or Dimuth Karunaratne – would be left without income from the board for the majority of this year.
They are also not contractually bound to the board at present, and several of those uncontracted players are understood to be considering opportunities overseas.
In his letter, Chandimal outlined his playing statistics across all three formats, and compared his numbers with those of former greats before the age of 30, though he is himself 31. He then made the point that “the past greats of Sri Lanka cricket have shown that 2nd half of the career is where greater performances are made”, before asking “why are those very people not seeing the value at this juncture, in me?”
“My performance statistics and my health statistics indicate I am more than capable of performing at the highest level at the moment,” the letter said.
At present, Chandimal’s place in any of Sri Lanka’s XIs is not assured. Under Mickey Arthur, Sri Lanka have tended not to pick him for limited-overs cricket due to his modest strike rate. His overall Test numbers are better than most of his team-mates’, but even in that format he had been dropped from the XI for Sri Lanka’s most recent series against Bangladesh. Chandimal last made a Test century in mid-2018, and has averaged 22.43 across 25 innings since.
Excerpts from Chandimal’s letter:
“This letter contains facts on my past performance in cricket and performance of other past players. My only intention of stating these facts is to make you understand my position and your organisation’s vision of my future.
Based on these statistics, I personally feel I have been grossly vindicated of selection to represent the country I adore in both white ball and test cricket.
Going beyond my player statistics, my compliance towards health and fitness and my ethical standards towards SLC have been of the highest calibre. I have always demonstrated outstanding team player skills. In my career, every decision I have made was always by putting my country and team first sometimes with dire consequences for me personally.
Since my school days my only dream, intention and love has been and will continue to be, to play for my country at a professional level. The ad-hoc nature over my selection over the last couple of years have caused me much stress and has subsequently affected my cricket. As a past cricketer you would understand that selection consistency and selector’s trust in players is a must to perform on the field.
“The past greats of Sri Lanka cricket have shown that 2nd half of the career is where greater performances are made. Then why are those very people not seeing the value at this juncture in me?
My conclusion here being that as mentioned before, my age of 31 years is not a factor for performance. My performance statistics and my health statistics indicate I am more than capable of performing at the highest level at the moment.
I sincerely appreciate a response for this letter along with my humble request for a meeting with you along with the current selection committee.
I am certain given the opportunity, I will be able to perform as expected and contribute towards Sri Lanka cricket in a positive manner. I would like to discuss my future with Sri Lanka cricket and as this is my profession, at this juncture it is very important for me to make the correct and most informed decisions for my future.”