Walsden turn to Aussie and Sri Lankan as back up

WALSDEN will be using an Australian and a Sri Lankan as stand-in professionals for a key weekend in their Central Lancashire League season.

The highly-successful Duminda Perera suffered a hamstring injury in last Friday’s Twenty/20 defeat by Littleborough and Todmorden’s Pakistani Qaiser Abbas successfully deputised as the Scott Street club maintained their decent league form at home to Radcliffe the following day.

While Perera’s injury is not as bad as first feared, Walsden are taking no chances and he will sit out the weekend’s two games at Oldham.

Aussie batsman Cullum Creevy, currently on holiday in England, steps in for tomorrow’s league match while Perera’s countryman Anil Rideegammanageder will step into the breach in Sunday’s Wood Cup contest.

Creevy played a couple of matches for Walsden in 2005 but one game was rained off and he scored 20 in his only trip to the crease for the club.

Rideegammanageder has been performing well for Ashton in recent seasons and he is a player Walsden have tried to sign.

Walsden will have high hopes of success this weekend. Oldham are third from bottom with just a couple of wins and a tie from 12 games while Walsden are seventh but only two points behind second-placed Middeleton with Norden clear at the top.

Walsden spokesman Allan Stuttard said it had been a nightmare trying to find stand-in professionals and he was hopeful Perera would be fit for the following weekend.

Paul Collingwood says his love of playing for England means he will not turn his back on his country, despite being stripped of the Twenty20 captaincy.

The popular all-rounder called time on his Test career following the conclusion of the Ashes series in Australia, but wanted to remain available for England’s limited-overs sides - the form of cricket in which he initially made his name.

As captain of the T20 side that won the World Cup last year, he did not expect to be axed from the role in favour of Stuart Broad when the England and Wales Cricket board had a captaincy review earlier this year, but is still determined to break back into the side now he has recovered from knee surgery.

“I love playing for England. I love the environment. I love what we’ve created,” he said. “It’s just a great place to be and so I really lived the dream these last 10 years. And I want more of it. I want to be involved, I want to be playing.”

Now 35, the Durham man added: “When you get older there’s a lot more pressure. People start looking at your age. You have to be fitter than you’ve ever been because you can’t give them an excuse to ignore you. But I feel fit, I feel sharp, all the desire is there, so I just need to score the runs that demand attention.”

“I’ve just had an eight-week break and I haven’t had such a long break since I started playing international cricket. It would have been nice if they (the England selectors) had waited and seen what I was like when I came back and then maybe made the decision after the first Twenty20s this summer.”