Fakenham hopes Van's the man

Fakenham Cricket Club are hoping that Sri Lankan Test player Michael Vandort will provide the answer to their batting problems this weekend - if he finally gets clearance to fly to England.

Fakenham Cricket Club are hoping that Sri Lankan Test player Michael Vandort will provide the answer to their batting problems this weekend - if he finally gets clearance to fly to England.

Vandort, 29, who has a Test average of 36.90 from 20 matches, is among a group of Sri Lankan players waiting to receive their visas having agreed deals to play in this country.

Fakenham chairman Martin Turner said this week: 'We're just waiting for him to be given the green light. He is on standby to fly over as soon as that is granted and I am hoping it will be this week so that he can play against Horsford at the weekend.'

Many clubs have faced delays in bringing Sri Lankan players over this summer because of visa delays, although Fakenham's situation has been exacerbated by the fact that their original signing, Indika De Saram, was called up to the national squad for the forthcoming World Twenty20.


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That meant he had to pull out of his deal with Fakenham, leaving the Highfield Lawn club facing a last-minute struggle to find a replacement.

They have had to play their opening four East Anglian Premier League games without an overseas player and, despite a promising start which saw them win their first two fixtures, Fakenham have since drawn with Saffron Walden, before last Saturday's nine-wicket defeat at Norwich.

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Turner hopes the anticipated arrival of Vandort will revive Fakenham's fortunes: 'We haven't scored more than 160 on a Saturday yet this season,' he said. 'Our batting is the key and having someone there who can bat throughout an innings would put everyone's confidence up and that is exactly what we need.

'You only have to look at Swardeston, who had Jaden Hatwell scoring 141 in a total of 251 on Saturday and that is the sort of thing we will be looking for, someone who can hold the innings together.

'There was a big buzz at the club when we signed Indika, because people knew what he had done previously in the EAPL and they followed how well he had been doing in Sri Lanka over the winter.

'It was disappointing when we found out he wouldn't be able to play for us, but we've managed to get another very decent cricketer and we're just anxiously waiting for him to get here now.'

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