WERRINGTON director of cricket Adam Hodgson feels his side have a ‘heck of a player’ on their hands after the club announced the signing of Sri Lankan batting all-rounder Thulina Dilshan for their 2024 ECB Cornwall Premier League campaign.

The Ladycross outfit surprised many last summer by finishing fourth in the table, a feat made even more impressive considering they lost their opening four games and many expected them to be battling for survival.

With the rest of last year’s squad looking set to stay, Werrington are hopeful of another fruitful summer.

Hodgson said: “I’m buzzing about it, we went around the block a bit with it and had several options on the table, a few fell through but I actually think we landed on the best of the options in the end. 

“On paper, Thulina is a heck of a player, an opening bat averaging over 40 in the top tier in Sri Lankan First Class cricket last season with three tons. 

“So we are hopeful of plenty of runs at the top of the order and it will make our batting line-up very long as we’ll have very good players batting at seven, eight and nine, which is great for us. It also sounds like he’s a decent leg-spinner which will be a nice option for us next season.”

Dilshan, who currently plays for Sebastianites Cricket and Athletics Club, has yet to encounter English conditions, but the 26-year-old comes with a glowing reference.

Hodgson said: “With the new pitch renovations, we are hoping that it will be fairly nice for batting at Ladycross next year, and I’m looking forward to seeing him churn them. 

“His bowling is a bit of an unknown, but he comes very highly recommended from St Just’s ex pro Chamikara Edirisinghe, who say he’s class with the bat but also very good with the ball, which is high praise coming from him.”

Werrington’s batting has lacked the quality of their golden years in recent times, a fact not lost on Hodgson, who also expects Dilshan to send down some overs.

He said: “We definitely wanted a batter as 90% of games that we lost in the last couple of seasons has been down to our batting. 

“Since we lost Mini (Matt Robins) and Smithy (Paul Smith) a few years back, we have been a bit light on batting. 

“So batting was the key, but we didn’t want to spend money and not get an all-rounder. The ideal scenario he would have been a seamer too, but we are more than happy to have a different type of spin option to go with what we already have, so it will be death by spin! 

“But pace off goes well at Ladycross and most other places are spin friendly.”

Werrington haven’t gone down the professional route in several years, most recently utilising Australians Jonno Baldock and Sam Willis.

Hodgson said: “We have a good, strong side with good strength in depth and a very good crop of youngsters coming through, so I’ve always thought we could be very strong if we could add a pro, so it’s exciting to see where this takes us. I also think having this quality around the team, along with the experience we have, it will help us introduce the youngsters into the first team and take any pressure off of them.”

Werrington are a club that like to promote from within, and Dilshan will be doing plenty of coaching.

Hodgson said: “Thulina will be a part of the senior coaching group to help with the summer senior training programme.

“He will also be heavily involved with the junior coaching on a Friday evening. We are hoping to also utilise his skills and knowledge from a coaching point of view with potential one-to-one training, especially with our promising youngsters. We are going to try and encourage conversation and mentorship as much as we can whilst he is here.”

Werrington have also added Tintagel all-rounder Ryan Pooley, and Hodgson admits business might not be done yet.

He said: “We have a few pokers in fires, but we are not ones for going after any old Tom, Dick and Harry, it’s nice to add a couple, we are chuffed to get Ryan Pooley over the line and we’re excited to see how he goes. 

“It’s more about retaining everyone we have and also developing and blooding our group of youngsters, this is what excites me the most as we have some crackers coming through the ranks who will be proper players in the not to distant future.

“It’s exciting times and I can’t wait to get going in the New Year.”