CRICKET: Woodhall Spa swoop to sign Sri Lanka star Bandara

Malinga Bandara in action for Sri Lanka against India
Malinga Bandara in action for Sri Lanka against India

Woodhall Spa Cricket Club has pulled off another sensational signing ahead of the new season in the shape of Sri Lankan star Malinga Bandara.

The Test ace is a more than adequate replacement for fellow countryman Prasanna Jayawardene, who has to pull out of his planned return to Jubilee Park.

Jayawardene, who made such a big impact at the club last season, is touring England this summer with Sri Lanka.

He will also be involved in a home Test series against South Africa in July.

Jaywardene still wanted to return to Woodhall but would only have been available for the last few weeks of the campaign.

With that in mind, the club has swooped for Bandara who has made over 40 international appearances for his country - including eight Tests.

Woodhall skipper Jack Luffman said: “We’re delighted with the signing and Malinga really will add balance to the side.

“He’s a quality batsman and one of the best leg spinners around.

“In terms of wickets taken, he’s second to Muttiah Muralitheran in the Sri Lanka rankings which says everything.”

Luffman admitted Jaywardene was ‘devastated’ that he would not be returning to the club.

However, he did not rule out the possibility of the Test ace making a comeback next season.

He said: “We’re in regular contact with ‘PJ.’

“He’s really upset that he won’t be back here but he’s been a big part of the process to sign Malinga.

“To be honest, that says everything about him.”

Bandara - who played for English counties Gloucestershire and Kent - is expected to arrive on April 27, subject to visa clearance.

While at Woodhall, he will be holding a number of coaching clinics and helping maintain the club’s ground.

Meanwhile, Woodhall have confirmed another high profile signing in the 25-year-old Lincoln born pace bowler Andy Carter who is a key member of Nottinghamshire’s first team squad.