Darley bolsters bowling stocks

Darley has acquired the services of Sri Lankan pair Anurudda Rajapaksha and Roshan Anuruddha as it looks to go one step further in this season’s Ballarat Cricket Association firsts competition.

The duo join the club through the connection of Hasitha Wickramasinghe, who played at Darley last year, he will again pull on the whites.

Both men can handle the bat, but will are expected to feature strongly in the Lions’ attack.

Darley first XI player Matt Cape said Anuruddha is a genuine all-rounder, capable of notching 130km/h and holding down a spot in the top-order.

The 23-year represented Sri Lanka in its 19/under World Cup team and is sure to add an edge to Darley’s attack. While Anurudda Rajapaksha, 32, is an opening bowler as well as being a handy batsman. 

Rajapaksha played 20 first-class matches for Sri Lanka and has captained sides throughout his career, bringing not just his skill-set to the Lions, but a wealth of experience.

Cape said an area the club identifed for improvement was injecting some pace into its bowling attack, the addition of these two imports is expected to attend to that need.

"He can bowl pretty sharp,” Cape said of Anuruddha.

"We thought we needed a couple of blokes with a bit of extra pace to get through on the flatter decks.

"We felt we needed a bit more pace against certain teams, that firepower to get through the lower order and take a few up the top.”

Matthew Cape

Matthew Cape

With uncertainty surrounding Heath Pritchard’s playing future, although it looks unlikely he will play, Cape said these recruits came at a timely fashion while its batting will also be boosted.

"We're just looking to strengthen our bowling attack and with Heath (Pritchard) going, it leaves a bit of a hole there.

"With those two, Barnesy (Brad Barnes) and a couple of others - our pace attack is going to be alright.

"We're hoping to be there around the mark again.

"You can never have too many batsmen in the team, (so we've) strengthened that where we needed to. Especially in our comp, you need to bat as deep as you can. We've still got our eight or nine local blokes and a couple of recruits, so we're still giving our young guys an opportunity.”

Zac Ticehurst will return after spending time in China last year on placement, but it loses Jake Wilkie who has university commitments in England.