Sunshine YCW off-spinning all-rounder Tharanga Fernando is having a season to savour.
The Sri Lankan import could be the most important player of any side when the Victorian Turf Cricket Association north A1 finals begin on March 11.
Fernando has the ability to turn the match with bat or ball.
“He’s been our standout by a long way,” YCW president Shaun Janetzki said.
“He’s had a year up here last season, got used to our wicket and our conditions, and he’s reaped the benefits of it this season.”
Fernando has spun his way to be the nightmare of batsmen all over the north A1.
The off-spinner hit the 50-wicket mark for the summer last start, and can build on that with one more weekend and finals to come.
Janetzki can’t recall another bowler taking 50 wickets during one season in his time at YCW. And Fernando’s efficiency is eye-catching too, averaging just 7.5 runs per wicket. The cherry on the top for Fernando is his aggressive batting … he had made 399 runs, averaging 26, heading into the final round.
Just like his ability to break up a partnership with the ball, his power hitting can turn the game in an instant.
“Some weeks, he gets away, others he doesn’t; that’s his game and that’s the way he plays,” Janetzki said. “It’s what he’s been successful doing, so we’re quite happy to let him go.
“If he gets his eye in and gets going, we just bat around him from the other end.”
Sunshine YCW is captained by Syed Ali Hussain, a Pakistan-born cricketer. Hussain, undoubtedly a talented batsman, has stepped up into the main leadership position and taken to the captaincy like a duck to water.
“His cricket ability on his resume, no problem, but as a first-year coach, we were a bit unsure, but he’s exceeded what we wanted,” Janetzki said. “The leadership he’s provided throughout the first XI is starting to spread down through the club.”
Sunshine YCW is proud of its multicultural fabric.
“There’s a lot of diverse cultures within the club,” Janetzki said. “We do our best to try and include them all with our functions, and in the kitchen on a Thursday night, we try to make sure everyone is catered for.”
But Sunshine YCW has a fight on its hands to keep hold of second spot in the finals.
YCW posted just 132 at Kinder Smith Reserve on Saturday, then hit back to have Barkly Street in trouble at 5-50.
Irrespective of where it finishes the regular season, YCW is confident is can go all the way.
“Any side in the top four, on their day, is more than capable of winning it,” Janetzki said.
“Our boys certainly don’t fear playing them anywhere.”