SRI LANKA captain Mahela Jayawardene faces an uncertain future in the Test series against Australia after he breached his contract in a spat over money with his own board.
Sri Lanka Cricket have claimed Jayawardene and team manager Charith Senanayake have breached their contracts by publicly complaining about the board's decision to not give a share of the players' fees from the recent Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka to support staff, coaches and ground staff.
Jayawardene sent a private memo to SLC last week arguing for this to be done, only for the email, sent via Senanayake, to be leaked and published in Colombo's Daily Mirror newspaper.
Jayawardene, angered that his email had been made public, wrote to the newspaper, declaring he had "lost all confidence" in SLC as a result. This response was also published.
SLC, which denied the request on grounds it was not standard practice, claimed on Saturday that Jayawardene and Senanayake should not have contacted the newspaper directly, and that the matter was under investigation.
In a statement, SLC says "release of (Jayawardene's) views through the manager, direct to the media is a breach of their respective contracts on the part of both the captain and the manager and this matter will be taken up for discussion when the executive committee next meets".
This is unlikely to prevent Jayawardene from playing in the second Test against Australia, beginning on Boxing Day at the MCG, but an alleged breach of contract means he is no certainty to line up in the subsequent Sydney Test should SLC act quickly.
After the story broke, Jayawardene's response to the Daily Mirror read: "As the Captain of the National Team, I am disturbed and deeply disappointed that a confidential document handed over to Sri Lanka Cricket has been published in the Daily Mirror on December 19 causing much concern, embarrassment to players and other staff members.
"Hence, on behalf of the National Cricket team, I wish to clarify the position with regard to the article concerning guarantee fee payments.
"Contrary to what the article states, the decision to share the guarantee fees with the team Management (Not with any favourite individuals and most of them are past SL cricketers) and support staff who worked closely and tirelessly with the team was done collectively by the entire team. This however is not a new practice as the guarantee fees were shared with the Management and support staff since the 2007 World Cup.
"The decision to share the fees with the Management, Baggage boys and especially this time with the ground staff and curators was mainly in appreciation for their efforts and services.
"The guarantee fee is a payment made by ICC to Sri Lanka Cricket. 25% of that is paid to the players and it is players' prerogative how they wish to share the fees paid to them. I am also disappointed that the article was published in the papers without verifying the contents and the Treasurer of SLC too making comments. As a result of what has transpired, I have lost all confidence in dealing with SLC in the future.
"My sincere apologies to all my team members and other coaching and Management staff for the inconvenience and embarrassment caused."
The Daily Mirror took umbrage with part of Jayawardene's comments, issuing this response: "Sports Editor's note: We have not mentioned anything in our article to present a contrary view to the fact that the decision to share guarantee money was a collective decision of the team members. We have even described it in our article as a "commendable" act. We verified facts with SLC Treasurer but did not try to contact Jayawardene as he is currently in Australia. Though Jayawardene has mentioned about a failure to verify contents, he has not pointed out any wrong facts in the article. We regret any disturbance or embarrassment cause to national cricketers and offer an apology as it was not our intention."
Jayawardene has already said he will relinquish the captaincy once the tour of Australia is complete.
The story Jayawardene in spat with Sri Lanka's cricket board first appeared on WA Today.