Former Sri Lanka captain Aravinda de Silva has asked his country's cricket team to “start winning games rather than complaining” even as he defended the proposed annual players' contracts prepared by the committee headed by him.

De Silva said the players' refusal to sign the central contracts was “unfair” because the Board was offering more money than before for winning series against top-ranked opponents.

“It is very unfair that our players say that they are not agreeable to this scheme,” de Silva was quoted as saying by  Daily News .

“The most important fact is they should get into the middle and play positive cricket and start winning games for the country rather than complaining. This positive approach will encourage us to consider offering them more benefits as some of the other countries in our region [have done].”

Last week, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said that 24 of the country's leading players had been offered contracts under four categories and they had been given a deadline until June 3 to sign on dotted lines.

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Only six players are in the 'A' category and their annual pay ranges between USD 70,000 to 100,000. Batsman Dhananjaya de Silva draws the highest amount - USD 100,000 - and the rest of them are contracted to receive USD 70,000 to 80,000.

Sri Lanka's leading cricketers - led by Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne along with a host of senior players, including Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews - have refused to sign the central contracts which they believe pay far less compared to other countries.

De Silva said the Cricket Committee had been very fair to the players; the new system would infuse more benefits than before as it was a performance-based scheme, he pointed out.

“We discussed this matter in depth before we presented it to the players. Unlike in the past, we have increased the benefits three-fold (300 percent) than what it was but purely on the team’s performance. It has to be a collective effort by the whole team. If they win a Test series, we pay them USD 150,000 which was earlier limited to USD 50,000,” De Silva said.

Explaining further, the former stylish batsman said: “Winning a limited-overs series we have offered them USD 75,000, which was earlier limited to USD 25,000. We also introduced a slab for the T20 format, which also runs up to a maximum of USD 50,000, which earlier didn't have any rewards at all.”