19 Feb 2012

Funds secured to pay Sri Lanka cricketers

7:58 am on 19 February 2012

A Sri Lankan bank has agreed to release millions of dollars to the country's cash-strapped cricket board to pay players.

The country's top cricketers have been owed match payments dating back to the end of last year's World Cup.

Its cricket board has been unable to pay them since racking up some 3.7 billion Sri Lanka rupees of debt to finance the building of three cricket stadiums for the global tournament.

The state-owned Bank of Ceylon agreed to release 600 million Sri Lanka rupees ($US5.07 million) after meetings with Sri Lanka's sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, the sports ministry said in a statement.

The minister had ordered Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to pay the pending salaries up to the month of February by the end of the month, and added that March payments would be made on time.

Sri Lanka's players were previously promised by the sports minister that their outstanding payments would be fully paid by January.

The one-day team are currently playing a triangular series in Australia with India. They beat Australia by eight wickets in Sydney on Friday to record their first win in the tournament after two losses and a tie.

Since making it to the final of the World Cup, Sri Lanka have not won a test or one-day series at home or abroad, while their cricket board has been warned by the International Cricket Council to rid itself of government interference or risk sanctions.