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SL coach Arthur says focus on England despite contract row



Photo: AFP

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Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur has insisted the contract dispute which threatened to derail his side's tour of England has "not been on the radar" since the squad's arrival this month. 

The 24-strong group of cricketers agreed to play three Twenty20 internationals and a further three one-day internationals against 50-over world champions England on temporary deals after a dispute over their contractual arrangements escalated while they were in Sri Lanka.

The argument revolved around a new pay and incentive scheme, which was being introduced at a time when the number of central contracts were being cut compared to last year's tally.

But Arthur told a conference call on Thursday: "We have not mentioned it at all. It has not been on the radar.

"Since we have been here, it has just been cricket, cricket, cricket," the much-travelled South African coach added from Sri Lanka's base at Old Trafford in Manchester.

"Everybody has been mature enough to put it on the back-burner and realise why we're here so it has not been a distraction. It has not been an issue as far as I know."

Sri Lanka were due to play county sides Kent and Sussex in warm-up matches before the 1st T20 against England in Cardiff on June 23.

But those fixtures were cancelled due to safety concerns resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

Former South Africa, Australia and Pakistan coach Arthur's current international side are now making do with intra-squad matches instead.

Ramesh Mendis was in the runs on Wednesday and an encouraged Arthur said: "This is a massive challenge for our young team but a wonderful opportunity and I just want to see us progressing.

"To see the players going head-to-head yesterday and competing for positions, it has certainly heightened the challenge."