SUDBURY’S overseas star Hasantha Fernando has revealed he hopes to revive his international career by leading the Talbots to safety in a league he holds in very high regard.
The all-rounder from Sri Lanka was last picked for his country in 2007 for the Twenty/20 World Cup in South Africa but still harbours ambitions of wearing his homeland’s colours once again.
The Lakan Cricket Club captain, who flew into Friars Street after leading his side to safety in their first season in Sri Lanka’s top division, hopes to do the same with Sudbury, and in doing so attract attention from international selectors.
He also hopes to become one of the first players to play in the new Sri Lankan Twenty/20 Premier League (SPL).
“I am still trying to play some Twenty/20 cricket for Sri Lanka as I am still contracted to the Sri Lankan Cricket Board,” he said.
“I am 31 and my aim is to play at this level again over the next few months, maybe July when they start the SPL, which is like the IPL (Indian Premier League).”
Should Fernando be picked to play in the prestigious launch of the SPL in July, he would feature alongside such household names as Herschelle Gibbs, Shahid Afridi, Shaun Tait and Chris Gayle, commanding reported $35,000 fees each to play.
Fernando had a disappointing debut for Sudbury in their seven-wicket defeat to local rivals Bury St Edmunds in the East Anglian Premier League on Saturday, being clean-bowled for five and taking one wicket. But he insists it will not take long for him to adapt to the pitches and show his undoubted international pedigree, which has seen him play seven one-day-internationals and two test matches.
Describing his style, he said: “I am a really aggressive batsman, I like to hit the ball.
“Bowling I am the same, I am really aggressive. I like to bowl yorkers or bouncers, I am not a happy man during the game.”
He singled out the batting department at Sudbury as needing the most work as well as physical fitness, but believes the young squad has enough about it to avoid the relegation trapdoor.
“I have to do a lot of work with Sudbury but there is very good young talent in the side, the captain and a good left-arm spinner (are good) and I think we can stay in this league and hopefully next year try to win the league.”
Fernando won the EAPL at his last attempt with Vauxhall Mallards two years ago, but knows that every win on the board for Sudbury will be vital this season and he hopes to get back to winning ways on Saturday, against current bottom side Norwich at Friars Street (11am).
The Talbots will be buoyed by the return of bowling specialist Craig Smith, who took three wickets in his last match, and opening batsman Al Younger, both unavailable last week.