Non-lankan players in counties stun Atapattu

Published: Wednesday, September 22, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Voicing his surprise over not many Sril Lankan cricketers playing in the English county circuit, Sri Lankan skipper Marvan Atapattu has said he had no clue as to why the English counties have not shown any interest in roping in any members of his side.

"I really have no clue regarding this but it's strange to see the counties not showing any interest in any of our guys. Naturally we would have expected some of our blokes to be have signed up by the counties but that hasn't happened as yet," Atapattu said.

Atapattu said the Sri Lankan cricket board had in the past given permission to players to play in the English county circuit. "Of course, it's a bit hard to play county cricket these days with the international calendar. Our board gives them permission if (a player) is required by a county. It helps if players have played here but it's hard to accommodate," he observed.

It's worth mentioning that more than 60 overseas players have featured in county cricket this year, but not a single one was Sri Lankan. Of the current squad only Chaminda Vaas, who played for Hampshire last year, has county experience.

Injured spinner Muttiah Muralitharan has the most county experience, after spells with Lancashire and Kent. And a batting line-up that has been to the fore with 17 wins in the last 18 matches generally struggles in England's seamer-friendly conditions.

Atapattu himself has a Test batting average of over 50 in England, including an innings of 185 at Lord's in 2002, but has never received an offer. "It would have been an honour to have been asked and Im sure at least one or two would have been considered," he added.

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