RUSSELLS Creek has made the first recruiting coup of the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association season.
Creek yesterday revealed Sri Lankan Shanaka Perumpuli would join the Mack Oval-based club.
Perumpuli, 28, played with the Creekers in 2008-09 and 2009-10 before returning to his homeland for two summers.
His return will help reinforce a side which enjoyed just three wins and a draw last season.
Perumpuli arrived in Australia on September 19 and yesterday had a light training session at Mack Oval with Creek president Glenn Kelson.
He said he was excited about playing cricket in Warrnambool again.
“It’s a pretty good standard and I love Warrnambool. They’re good people and it’s been a good club,” he said.
Perumpuli said he wanted to play in a premiership.
“We need to have a win in the grand final. I really hope it’s this year,” he said.
“We have a good side. Boydy (Ben Boyd) and Nathan (Divall), they are good bowlers, and Bundy (Jayaweera Bandara).
“We hope it will be this year.”
Perumpuli is a top-order batsman and wicketkeeper and has played first-class cricket for Sebastianites in Sri Lanka.
He will play a major role in Creek’s assault on the WDCA division one flag, but will also help mentor an emerging group of wicketkeepers at the club. Russells Creek captain Divall said Perumpuli’s return was a coup for the club.
“One of the reasons (we signed him) is he’s a good quality cricketer and he was keen to come out again,” he said.
“The other reason is we’ve got a couple of good, young wicketkeepers at the club and Shanaka, being a wicketkeeper himself, can help those guys come along.
“They’re Tom Ludeman and Ayden Bosse. They’re both young fellas who are still in junior cricket. Them along with Harry Bond.”
Divall said season 2012-13 was shaping up well for the club, which is waiting on clearances for a handful of other recruits.
“We’ve picked up a couple of additional players and it wouldn’t hurt to have a couple more,” he said. “Our better games last year were against the better teams.
“Of the finalists, we beat Allansford, Nestles beat us by two runs and West Warrnambool, when we played them we were off to a good start when it got washed out.”
Divall said a 12-team top grade, up from 10 teams last season, could benefit the competition.
“I think it will have plenty of positives, as in the attention will be on the cricket rather than outside factors,” he said.