Rye skipper heading to Sri Lanka

Sandun Dias thumps one through the covers for four watched by Iden wicketkeeper Scott Price earlier in the season. Picture by Simon Newstead
Sandun Dias thumps one through the covers for four watched by Iden wicketkeeper Scott Price earlier in the season. Picture by Simon Newstead
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Rye Cricket Club captain Sandun Dias is heading off to play in the Sri Lanka Premier League.

The 28-year-old has ended his four-year association with Rye and headed back to his homeland for the prestigious Twenty20 competition.

Although Dias had to remain fairly tight lipped about the details of his involvement in the tournament, he did say that all the Sri Lanka international players will be playing.

While it may sound like quite a jump from East Sussex Cricket League Division One, Dias is no stranger to some of the top names in Sri Lankan cricket.

Having been brought up around 45 minutes from the capital Colombo, Dias went to college with Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews and has kept in touch with him since.

He has played in the same teams as Test stars like Upul Tharanga and Lasith Malinga, and has represented his country at under-15 and under-19 level in the past.

Dias has scored 1,000 first class runs in 32 appearances with five fifties. One of his half-centuries came as recently as March when he made 51 for Kurunegala Youth Cricket Club against Chilaw.

The hard-hitting right-handed batsman and right-arm fast medium bowler first came to Rye through an agent and has returned to The Salts every summer since.

Dias, who has a couple of aunts in London, captained Rye to promotion from Division Two last summer and has again been at the helm this term as the club has hit the front in Division One.

He bid farewell to Rye with a comprehensive victory over Ditchling last weekend, a result which keeps the club 40 points clear at the top of the table with five matches remaining.

And Dias is confident that his team-mates can clinch the title in his absence. He said: “I would love to still be there, but I definitely think they can win the league. It’s a very well run club with one of the best colts set-ups in Sussex.”

Dias has done a lot of work with the colts during his time at Rye, and holds English and Australian level two coaching certificates. He is due to continue his travels by flying out to Melbourne in October.

Rye Cricket Club honorary secretary Martin Blincow said: “He’s been a great player to have over the last four seasons, both on and off the field helping out with the colts.

“He’s been a really positive influence on the club in terms of his ability; he’s one of the top players we’ve had. He’s fitted in really well and obviously we wish him well.”