ASHLEY Bullock has held Bromyard’s club batting record for a decade – but there’s one person he doesn’t mind losing it to.

Former Sri Lankan international cricketer Dinusha Fernando has already scored 762 league runs and is poised to shatter the 837-run club record which Bullock set in 2000.

“Dinusha has already broken the Bromyard record for the most hundreds in a season – he’s hit four - and now he’s not far off the record for the most runs in a league season for the club,”

said chairman Bullock.

“He’s going to break the record and I really hope he gets it,” said Bullock, who is hosting the Sri Lankan all-rounder at his home for the summer.

Fernando has also starred with the ball this season – he bagged a hat-trick in last Saturday’s six-wicket home win over Pedmore in the Worcestershire County League Division 1.

It was the fourth hat-trick in Fernando’s career.

Fernando played two Tests and a one-day international in 2003 against England.

In his sole one-day international, he claimed the scalps of former England captain Michael Vaughan and current s k i p p e r A n d r e w Strauss.

Fernando also scored an unbeaten 51 in his s e c o n d T e s t a g a i n s t England at Kandy in December 2003.

“From an early age, cricket has been my life and I practised and trained hard to get to the highest level. I want to play professionally for another five to six years.”

The 31-year-old is from Moratuwa and married to Chathurica. They have a seven-year-old son called Damian.

Fernando plays first-class cricket in his homeland for Sri Lanka Air Force. Last season, he was the third highest run-scorer in the domestic competition.

“I was disappointed not to play more international cricket but, in Sri Lanka, it’s quite political,” he said.

“I played for a club called Sebastianites which is outside Colombo and that had a big impact.”

The Sri Lankan has been an overseas club professional in England before.

He took 10-25 in a Bradford League match for Idle against Cleckheaton in 2005.

And he collected 105 wickets for Wrenthorpe in the Central Yorkshire League between 2007 and 2008.

Bromyard had originally planned for the return of Lundi Mbane, the club’s overseas professional from last year.

However, the South African was injured in March and Bromyard acted swiftly to find a replacement.

“Our overseas player from 2009, Lakshan Rodrigo, knew of Dinusha’s pedigree and contacted him to see if he was available,” said Bullock.

“We managed to put a deal together and he agreed to come.”

Fernando’s haul of four league tons for Bromyard has broken the previous record of three from South African Barry Rhodes in the 2008 season.

“I am proud to be here – it’s a new opportunity for me,” said Fernando.

“I’ve never lived in a small market town like Bromyard – with one main street – so it’s very different and a new experience. It’s a different type of cricket from what I am used to playing in Sri Lanka and it’s been a good learning curve for me – especially with the bowling.

I have had to learn to bowl slightly differently.

“During the week, I do a lot of private coaching of young players aged between 11 and 15 years old and I help with the club’s under- 13 team.

“People are f r i e n d l y towards me and they like to talk to me.”

Bullock said Bromyard first started signing overseas players in 1992 and praised Fernando’s efforts both on and off the pitch.

“He has done extremely well and, from a club point of view, it’s been fantastic to have him here.

“He’s a Roman Catholic so he goes to St Joseph’s Church on Sunday mornings and he’s made friends there, too.

“He’s very dedicated and his batting has been fantastic.

He’s a stroke player who times the ball superbly. He plays in the V and he hit a huge six on Saturday.

“He swings the ball into the left-hander and away from the right-hander.”

Bullock said the Flaggoners Green club hoped to be title challengers this summer but they had a lean spell a month ago.

“We had some players unavailable, which was disappointing, but we have won our last three matches and we are hoping to finish in the top four. We are trying to get the club into the Birmingham League.”

Fernando enjoyed a recreational match last weekend, bowling spin for Bromyard in their GB Liners Marches Sunday League match against Dales.

The Sri Lankan’s performances have also drawn praise from Bromyard skipper Edd Oliver.

“Dinusha has hit 762 league runs so, hopefully, the club record will fall at Pershore this weekend,”

said Oliver.

And when he’s not cooking up a storm on the pitch, the Sri Lankan is taking his turn in the kitchen.

Bullock said: “He’s a very good cook – Devilled Chicken with rice is his signature dish.”