Past Players 1 of 2

1. Past Players 1

Kaushayla Weeraratne (The story so far)

In the winter of 2005 Potters Bar were scouting around various avenues to bolster our chances of promotion back into the Home Counties Premier League. After having a pretty poor league campaign in 2005 it was thought that for the club to compete in 1st XI cricket we had to go out and get an out and out professional to improve both the results and give his expertise to the Colts section.

After negotiations, Potters Bar had got their man. Kash Weeraratne was down on many cricket websites as a hard hitting left handed batsman, who bowled right arm medium pace. The Sri Lankan had played 11 One-Day Internationals and was a star at his club side Ragama and over the winter numerous club members watched his progress through his domestic summer with great anticipation.

Arriving in a freezing cold May 2006, Kash arrived with his first game in gloomy, drizzly conditions against Wembley at The Walk in a pre-season friendly. With a scratch side out on a helpful pitch Kash opened the bowling and bowled at a useful pace and was quite simply too good for the Middlesex Premier League side. His 6-over burst had cost just a run and his career at Potters Bar was off and running.

His first season with the club couldnt have gone any better. His first league game at newly promoted Hertford showed the league and some rather bitter individuals the difference from good club cricketers to professional cricketers as he blasted an amazing 118* off of just 92 balls, where he simply blasted the ball to all parts and made a big ground look little more than a postage stamp.

In fact the first seven league matches, Kashie blasted the visitors attacks to all parts. His scores went as follows: -
Hertford 118*
Sawbridgeworth 80*
Welwyn Garden City 63
Hemel Hempstead 117
Hoddesdon 55
Knebworth Park 40
Stevenage 76
It was not just the bat Kash was breaking the hearts of many. His new ball bowling was at times too good for the batters and his bowling figures did not merit his numerous beating of the bat.

Although with league results better than for some time, it was the Becker Cup, the Premier Hertfordshire One Day Tournament, where Bar were playing their best cricket.

A 6-wicket cruise against Sawbridgeworth in Round 2 was quickly followed up with an 8-wicket win over North Mymms and a 10-wicket thrashing of Stevenage. This however meant Kashie had little to do to influence games but faced with Home Counties Premier League side West Herts away in the Semi Finals meant Bar and Kash needed to be at their best.

Kash removed West Herts overseas batting star Neale Parlane 5th ball for a duck and his 10 overs went for just 15 as the Premier League side were skittled out for just 70. Kash came in needing 22 more for victory and smashed the winning runs in just 11 balls and Bar were heading to Shenley in the final to meet fellow feeder league side Hemel Hempstead.

As Bars league season had petered away to a 4th place finish Kash had still finished with a club record 837 league runs at an average of 55.80. He smashed 2 hundreds and 7 league fifties and signed off his league campaign with a 64-ball 92 against local rivals North Mymms. His bowling arguably deserved better than a haul of 22 wickets at a cost of 23 but in a hot summer, seaming pitches were few and far between.

However Kash saved the best till last as he simply took the Becker Cup final away from Hemel Hempstead in an innings of 102 balls his 121 contained 20 fours and 2 sixes. This enabled Bar to make 293 from their 50-over allocation. He then removed Hemels top batter for 9 and took 2 catches as Bar triumphed by 193 runs. Quite simply Kashie was awesome. This meant Bar had won their first County Cup and by a record margin.

Kash went from strength to strength and in his domestic season he scored plenty of runs, took lots of wickets and almost single handedly ensured Ragama won the National 20/Twenty crown with a succession of quick fire scores.

Kashie returned in 2007 and in truth didnt have the same impact as he did with the bat as his first season. Still though Kash made 409 runs from 16 innings at an average of 34.38 and passed 50 on three occasions. In truth these stats were not helped by the fact that Bar had bowled the opposition out for less than 120 on 5 occasions. But this year was dominated by bowlers and his 33 league wickets at 15 runs a piece; a wicket every 28 balls showed his value to the club.

Since his return back to the sunnier climate of Sri Lanka, Kashie has been in fine form; particularly in the newly introduced inter region competition where in the space of a weekend he took the wickets of Sanath Jayasuriya and Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene in vital low scoring games. He benefited from a change of national selectors and that has given Kashie hope of a re-call to the National side. Only last week (Feb 15) he came in at 93 for 5 and made 135, his second 1st class hundred to enable his side Ragama to make 562 for 8 declared and an innings victory.

All we can say is as overseas players go, we as a club have been very, very lucky to have benefited from watching Kash play, perform and entertain us. He is a credit to his profession as his coaching is first class; its a pleasure to be in his company and has settled into life in dear old Potters Bar like a duck to water. We as a club can be proud of the way we have made life so easy for Kash to settle in and with it we have benefited from the Sri Lankan culture, and who can forget the two Sri Lankan nights, the latest of which I think ground to a halt about a week ago!!

We all wait with baited breath as to what Kash has in store for us in 2008 when he is due to return to Potters Bar. That on the proviso he isnt booked on a flight to the Caribbean with the full Sri Lankan squad to take on the West Indies in March. (great prediction Mark you should have put money on it as Kash has been selected. Editor March 2008)