Craig Salmon talks to Chorley’s Sri Lanka professional Gayan Maneeshan about his international ambitionsand his time at Windsor Park
Sri Lanka star Gayan Maneeshanbelieves there is still time for him to realise his ambition of playing international cricket.
The Chorley professional may have turned 27-years-old earlier this year but he is still hopeful that a call-up for the Lions is not just a pipedream.
A left-handed batsman, who can bowl legbreaks and also keep wicket, Maneeshan has plenty of talent.
He averages over 40 with the bat since making his First Class debut for Sinhalese Sports Club back in 2011.
Although he only made 15 on that occasion against the Chilaw Marians, he has since gone on to accumulate more than 3,500 runs, boasting a top score of 234.
Having also played for the Marians and Sri Lanka Ports Authority Cricket Club, Maneeshan is highly regarded back home.
And his reputation has been enhanced by his decision to seek experience of English conditions with Chorley over the past two seasons.
He is hopeful that the skills he has picked up playing over here will make him into a more rounded cricketer and prick the ears of the national selectors.
“I still think about getting into the national team,” said Maneeshan.
“There is still time I guess – I am only 27 so I still hope to one day play for my country.
“It is always every cricketer’s dream – I still have that dream to play for Sri Lanka.
“How realistic it is? I don’t know. Everything depends on the selectors of Sri Lankan cricket.
“I really don’t know whether it will happen, but I still have the dream because I have played for the Sri Lanka A team for three years.
“I got dropped from the team and that’s when I decided to come over to the UK.
“I am sure that if I perform well then they will pick me again, but of course it all depends.”
Chorley are currently in fourth spot in the Northern League Division One – 44 points shy of current leaders Netherfield.
Although they are quite a way behind the Cumbrians, Maneeshan has not given up hope of a late charge for the title.
“We have had a few up and down performances this season, but I think the whole team is now starting to play well with both bat and ball,” he said.
“We are in good form so I think if we can capitalise then there’s a chance we can get to the top of the league.
“I definitely think we can do well between now and the end of the season and finish on top of the table. I think we can win it.”
Maneehan admits he is loving his time at Chorley both on and off the pitch and is putting into practice the things he learned from last summer.
“I learned a lot from last year,” he said. “It helped me a lot getting used to the conditions and I think I am doing great this year.
“Last year was my first experience of English conditions. I think it was a good move to come back to Chorley.
“It is totally different to what I’m used to back home; the pitch conditions; the weather conditions.
“The Northern Premier League is tough.
“There’s a lot of good players and good teams.
“The conditions are really tough.
“This year has been a little easier for me because I know what the conditions are like; what the grounds are like; what the teams are like.
“I think that has helped me perform a lot better.”
Maneeshan has played with some of the greatest players to ever represent Sri Lanka, such as Kumar Sangakkara, but he rates Chorley skipper Andrew Holdsworth highly for the way he is able to lead the side.
Maneeshan said: “I have played with some of the legendary players in Sri Lankan cricket, but among the best players I have played with is Andy.
“He is a brilliant captain.
“He has got a really good cricket sense and he knows how to get the best performance out of the players. I think he is a brilliant captain both on and off the field. He really is a brilliant guy.”
Maneesham is also impressed by the current crop of young talent at Windsor Park and expects people like Ed Moulton and Harry Barclay to do big things in the game.
“I expect more to come from Ed and Harry,” he said. “They are really good players and have good futures ahead of them.
“The way they are playing now is brilliant.
“It is good to see these young lads doing well.
“I really enjoy playing with them and watching their progress.”
With a high score of 97 in the league, Maneeshan is hoping for something similar this weekend when Chorley face derby rivals Leyland at Fox Lane.
“We have beaten them a few times this season,” said Maneeshan. “It’s always a good feeling to beat a local rival and hopefully we can get the win this weekend.
“I have had some good scores this season.
“I got a century against Eccleston and 97 against both Netherfield and Barrow, so hopefully I can continue that.”