CARMAN Mapatuna is unlikely to return to the Ballarat Cricket Association in the near future, according to Napoleons-Sebastopol president Barry Ringin.
Mapatuna finished the 2015-16 season with Naps-Sebas before visa issues meant he and his family were forced to move back to native Sri Lanka.
The well-known figure in Ballarat cricket had made the city his home in recent years, with his wife and two children.
Mapatuna’s departure has also left Naps-Sebas without a coach for its men’s and women’s teams for next season.
Ringin said the club was currently advertising for Mapatuna’s replacement, but said he would leave a “massive hole”.
He said Mapatuna was well liked around the club and association and had been “shattered” to have to move away from Australia.
Mapatuna won the BCA’s premier individual award – the EJ Cleary Medal – in 1997-98 and then had a stint with Naps-Sebas’ rivals North Ballarat. After returning home to Sri Lanka, Mapatuna then came back and rejoined Naps-Sebas for the 2013-14 campaign.
He has played the last three seasons with the A-grade side, including an appearance in the grand final defeat to Brown Hill in 2014-15.
Mapatuna has also been a regular figure in the BCA’s Melbourne Country Week tilts and coached the team to victory in this year’s division two carnival.
In some good news for Naps-Sebas, an overseas import is soon to arrive for the upcoming season.
Left-arm off-spinner and middle-order bat Callum Honeyman has been recruited to Naps-Sebas through an association with gun all-rounder Liam Rigby.
Rigby played with Honeyman during his stint in England as part of the Cricket Willow scholarship.
Naps-Sebas will be looking to improve on a seventh-placed finish to last season when the new campaign begins on October 8.
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