In an untoward incident, after the final match in the one-day series between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe at the Hambantota stadium, the groundstaff at the venue was asked to strip off and return the uniforms before being paid. The groundstaff, who had been given SLC uniforms to wear, were unaware of this and did not bring any spare trousers, leaving them only in their underwear.
One of the groundsmen spoke to Hiru News and said, “They only paid us for our three days worth of work after taking our clothes,” while another said, “They hadn’t told us to come prepared with another set of clothes. They asked us to hand over the trousers, so we had no choice but to do that.”
Incidentally, the ground staff were local youths who employed on a daily salary of Rs 1000 rupees.
In a statement released the Sri Lankan board said, “Whilst stern action will be taken against those responsible, Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to apologise to those subjected to this ignominy, and will take steps to ensure they are compensated.”
SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala said, “That was a very low thing that happened. These people come to the ground because of their love of cricket, and to do a service while watching the match. They aren’t just there for the money. If rains come, they close up the whole ground within minutes and then take the covers off again. They are our colleagues, not our slaves. The board didn’t know anything about this. We had sent that clothing out to our provincial associations, but hadn’t taken a decision to get that clothing back.”