Cricket frustration for Fakenham
With the season already under way, Fakenham have been forced to go back to square one in their attempts to bring in an overseas professional.The Highfield Lawn club had secured the services of Sri Lankan international Indika de Saram and he was set to be the jewel in the crown of their rebuilt side.
With the season already under way, Fakenham have been forced to go back to square one in their attempts to bring in an overseas professional.
The Highfield Lawn club had secured the services of Sri Lankan international Indika de Saram and he was set to be the jewel in the crown of their rebuilt side.
But the 35-year-old's sparkling performances in the Sri Lankan domestic championships have prompted his inclusion in his country's squad for the World Twenty20 in England this summer. While Sri Lanka have yet to formally announce their final 15, de Saram was this week handed a specialist Twenty20 contract and it is understood he has made the cut.
Fakenham chairman Martin Turner admitted it was a blow for his side, who made a winning start to the season last Saturday against Halstead. “We had other things lined up for him, like coaching, so it puts the whole club in a bit of turmoil,” said Turner. “It's not just about the first team games, but everything else we are trying to do within the club.
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“At the moment we've only had unconfirmed reports that he has been selected, but he has been given an international contract as a Twenty20 player and that says to me 99pc that he is going to be in the squad.
“At the moment, we're still waiting to hear, but we're organising extra things in case he can't come.”
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Fakenham, who have finished bottom of the EAPL for each of the last two seasons, had entered this year with fresh optimism after signing a string of new players, of whom de Saram was the leading light.
Turner said it was frustrating that the hard work involved in securing de Saram had ultimately come to nothing, although he confirmed that the club would not lose money because of the Sri Lankan's absence.
He added: “We sorted out Indika's contract as far back as November. We'd learned our lesson about leaving it late in the past and I knew that the new regulations regarding overseas players would be a problem, so we started the process very early and got everything done in good time.
“We have been chatting to him and we'll probably speak to him again this week, so if he is in the squad we will wish him all the best. For him, it's a great thing because it's a long time since he played international cricket.”
Fakenham are unlikely to have a replacement installed for tomorrow's game at Godmanchester, but hope to have signed someone in time for the visit of Saffron Walden next weekend.
“It may well be there are players already in the country for one reason or another or who already have their visa,” said Turner. “I know there a few that the agents are pushing who want to play a decent standard of cricket to try and get back into their international squads.”
Elsewhere tomorrow, champions Swardeston head for Horsford looking to register their first win of the season after an opening day defeat to Bury.
Great Witchingham, who drew in a high scoring game last Saturday, are at Bury, while Vauxhall Mallards travel to Cambridge Granta and Norwich travel to Saffron Walden.
t See tomorrow's EDP for a full list of the weekend's fixtures.
t Brief match reports and scorecards for inclusion in Monday's cricket round-up should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, by noon on Sunday.