NO one does economical bowling quite like Sri Lankan and Indian-born spinners in the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association.
Shiwantha Kumara is universally respected for his dogged, restrictive style of play. The Russells Creek off-break bowler on average leaks just 1.97 runs an over.
Shaluka Silva isn't far behind. The Port Fairy all-rounder was one of the surprise packets in the Pirates' rise up the ladder under Brian Medew and Alex Jennings this past season and showed signs of his brilliant best pre-Christmas.
The former Camperdown talent arrived in the south-west with a Sri Lankan first-class pedigree and hasn't disappointed. He's coughed up just 2.11 runs per over.
The common link between the two - who hail from Colombo - is they both practice left-arm orthodox.
West Warrnambool's Akshay Kapadia, who burst on the scene after playing three division four games with the Davidson Oval-based club and had no formal playing experience in his homeland, has impressed early in his division one career.
Kapadia - whose style of delivery has been likened to Ravi Jadeja - has earned praise for its uniqueness.
"They're not big turners of the ball, generally," North Warrnambool Eels skipper Nick Butters said.
I'm a big fan of Shaluka. I think he can be really dangerous. We've also played (West Warrnambool's Akshay Kapadia) and I wasn't sure if he was trying to spin it or bowling around - I couldn't pick it up.- Nick Butters
"I'm a big fan of Shaluka. I think he can be really dangerous. We've also played (West Warrnambool's Akshay Kapadia) and I wasn't sure if he was trying to spin it or bowling around - I couldn't pick it up.
"He was hard to pick up and to get away so that'll be a handy little inclusion for them in the back half of the year."
Russells Creek skipper Matthew Petherick said as tight and effective as Kumara was with the ball, his ability to play a role with the bat in the tail was also beneficial.
"With Shiv, it's not so much his wicket-taking as much as it's his dot-ball pressure," Petherick said.
"That allows the wickets to come from the other end. That'd be his biggest strength."
Petherick said Kumara's personality was also a boost and complemented his abilities.
"He's just such a quality bloke. Since he's come in he's just slotted in really well," he said.
"Sometimes you find there are some lads that come over can be quite hard to understand but he's one of the best to come over along with Shashan (Silva).
"They have all the Australian jokes and banter and slot into the side really well."
Silva told The Standard pitches like Brierly and Dennington had a tendency to play like Sri Lankan wickets and complemented spin bowling.
"There are some pitches in Warrnambool that are pretty similar to Sri Lankan conditions," he said.
"I would some have turn. I would say Brierly and Dennington, those pitches, you can get some turn.
"Port Fairy, Merrivale, those pitches are pretty solid and hard so it's a bit hard to get some turn."
Silva said his sole focus was on restricting runs and performing economically.
"I'm getting there. I feel like I'm bowling good without getting a lot of wickets," he said.
"I still feel like I'm bowling well though because my economy rate is still under three. I reckon I'm still doing pretty good.
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"I feel like having a good economy rate is a big contribution for the team. You might bowl your nine overs or however many and if you can bowl under three that's really good for the team and the end result."
Port Fairy has produced its best form in Twenty20 cricket so far this summer. The Pirates are semi-finalists in the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association's standalone competition and are in with a shot of advancing to the Sungold Cup.
Silva said Port Fairy was capable of ruffling feathers post-Christmas as it found its mojo in the one-day format.
"From the start we were an underrated team because we'd lost a few people. Jason Perera was one who'd been here for four years," he said.
"Then Alex (Jennings) got a shoulder injury and it was a big impact on us. What we did was we reunited and we talked about what capabilities we had.
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"We went through each and every player with Brian (Medew) and he had a plan for each and every player.
"We've just been trying to execute that. After that we won three in a row in Twenty20s and that's something to cheer about."
Telge Peiris, another Sri Lankan spinner who arrived in the WDCA this past season with significant hype on the back of a 400-run, 40-wicket season at Flemington, has impressed.
He's nabbed nine wickets in both Twenty20 and one-day cricket, including a haul of five against Nestles, and is shaping as a cricketer of the year contender due to his all-rounder status.
It's not just Sri Lankan and Indian spinners plying their trade. Butters, who is a spinner himself, said there were more active spinners in the competition than there had been in prior seasons.
"But there aren't many who are trying too much to turn it - AJ (Alex Jennings) is probably the exception to that rule," he said.
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