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Bandara settling in nicely at the St Lawrence Ground

Tuesday 25th May 2010

Kent“s second overseas player of the summer is already proving a popular addition to the squad. Sri Lankan spin bowler Malinga Bandara (pictured) arrived in the UK earlier this month and is already making friends, both on and off the field.
The 30 year-old previously played county cricket for Gloucestershire and was their player of the year in 2005. He has earned eight Test and 31 ODI caps. Read on below and find out more about the man known simply as ‘Banda“.

How did the move to Kent come about?

I enjoyed a good spell with Gloucestershire in 2005 and I“ve always wanted another chance to play county cricket. I obviously know Paul (Farbrace) fairly well, from his time as assistant coach of the Sri Lankan team. My agent got in contact and asked if there was any chance of playing at Kent. He said yes and it all moved pretty quickly after that.

Were you pleased to get everything sorted, nice and quickly?

Of course, yes. I did well at Gloucestershire and I feel I can do equally well with Kent. Conditions won“t be as favourable here, as they are in Sri Lanka, but you generally get more turn and bounce in the second part of the season and I hope that will be the case again this year.

You“ve mentioned that you are enjoying things. How tough are you finding conditions?

It“s a good challenge. I knew before coming that English batsman can play spin but leg-spin is tougher for them – especially as it isn“t so common over here.

Did you know any of the players, prior to arriving?

No, not really although I have played against Rob Key, at the under-19 World Cup, and Azhar Mahmood, when he was playing international cricket with Pakistan. Both are fine cricketers, we have a good squad and everyone is making me feel nice and welcome.

You have taken more than 400 first class wickets but your hopes of a regular place in the Sri Lanka team have been thwarted by the brilliance of Muttiah Muralitharan and the emergence of the highly talented Ajantha Mendis. How do you view the competition at national level?

I think it is great for Sri Lankan cricket but not so good when, like me, you are waiting for a regular go! Everyone knows that Murali just keeps going and going. He loves bowling and continues to take plenty of wickets. Mendis is another fine bowler and has a bright future in the game.

You follow in the footsteps of fellow Sri Lankans Aravinda de Silva, Muttiah Muralitharan and Lasith Malinga. What does it mean to play for Kent?

I am very proud to play for such a great club. Kent won the division two county title last year and Murali told me what a good club it is. He gets on very well with Rob Key and told me that I would really enjoy my cricket at Canterbury. The supporters are all getting behind me; I“m really enjoying it.

Picture:Sarah Ansell