Smith and De Villiers help Sri Lankans get paid

2011-12-07 14:21

Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan thanked the Proteas’ players for their support in their battle to ensure the visiting team will be paid before next week’s first Test against South Africa after going nine months without their salaries.

Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers made statements to the International Cricket Council (ICC) to help the Sri Lankans, who have not been paid since March.

“Thanks to AB [de Villiers] and Graeme [Smith] who both gave statements,” said Dilshan after his team’s first practice session at Willowmoore Park in Benoni today.

“I thank them for being behind us to sort out these matters. They [Sri Lanka’s cricket board] will sort it out next week, that’s the news I heard from the board.”

Dilshan said despite not being paid for most of the year, it would not affect their performances on the field.

“We are here to play cricket, everyone [in the team] wants to play cricket and not worry about payment,” he said.

“We know payments are important but we’re just trying to play good cricket and finish this tour -- that’s the main target as a team.”

Sri Lanka have lost all three of their last Test series by a 1-0 margin and have the unenviable record of only winning one Test out of their previous 18.

Dilshan believed the results were not a true reflection of their performances.

“In the last Test we played really good cricket and, at one stage...we tried to win but unfortunately it rained.

“If we can use this three-day training game properly, it will help us before the Test match.”

The visiting side were used to the slower, turning wickets in the subcontinent and would need to adjust quickly to the fast bouncing conditions in South Africa.

“We need to get ready as soon as possible to these conditions,” said Dilshan.

“We haven’t played Test cricket here but we’ve played one-day games in South Africa so that helps a little bit.”

The Sri Lankan skipper said his team would rely on the experience of seasoned campaigners Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.

“We have experience in our batting unit, with Mahela [Jayawardene] and [Kumar] Sangakkara having played a lot of cricket especially in IPL and Champions League, and we really want to get used to these conditions quickly.”

Dilshan is looking at the series in a positive light as Sri Lanka have not been to South Africa in nine years and will not carry any baggage into the series.

“We are carrying a few young guys and we will try to give them experience,” he said.

“It’s not easy to come to South Africa as they have been playing good cricket for a few years and we can’t make any mistakes.

“We have to play with 100% commitment in this series and everyone should put their hand up and take the responsibility.”

The three-day match against a South African Invitation XI in Benoni starts on Friday.

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