Sri Lanka XI coach Bathiya Perera previews the Aussie Cricket League

What is the Aussie Cricket League?

The Aussie Cricket League is an innovative new start-up tournament aimed at showcasing south-east Melbourne’s best local cricketers, and giving them a chance to represent their country.


The tournament, which is held over the five days leading up to Christmas, will see an Australia XI, India XI, Pakistan XI, and Sri Lanka XI play a series of round robin fixtures, with the top two sides progressing to the final on the 24th of December.


The tournament format is T20, and all matches will be held at Casey Fields.



How to watch

You can watch the action in person at Casey Fields, with free entry, live entertainment, and food trucks.


If you’d like to watch from the comfort of your own home, you can catch the live telecast of each game on PTC Punjabi Gold’s Youtube channel.




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Fixture

India XI vs Sri Lanka XI – 20th December, 5:00pm AEDT


Australia XI vs Pakistan XI – 21st December, 5:00pm AEDT


Sri Lanka XI vs Pakistan XI – 22nd December, 1:00pm AEDT


India XI vs Australia XI – 22nd December, 5:00pm AEDT


Australia XI vs Sri Lanka XI – 23rd December, 1:00pm AEDT


India XI vs Pakistan XI – 23rd December, 5:00pm AEDT


Grand Finale – 24th December, 5:00pm AEDT



Squads

Australia XI

Cam Price (Coach), Matt Chasemore, Callum Chasemore, Jayde Herrick, Blade Baxter, Leigh Booth, Will Whyte, Jordan Hammond, Brodie Matthews, Jarryd Straker, Matthew Cox, Josh Dowling, Mick Sweeney, Isaiah Jassal, Chris Thewlis, Brendan Drew, Ryan Quirk, Graeme Rummans


Sri Lanka XI

Bathiya Perera (Coach), Ruwantha Kellepotha, Aaron Fernando, Brian Kulasena, Darshana Mahawattha, Dasun Randika, Gayan De Silva, Hemantha Jayasundera, Kalhan Sineth, Kavinda Pulukkuttiarachi, Nilochana Perera, Praveen Dilanka, Rajitha Ranaweera, Sanitha De Mel, Vimesh Wickramasinghe, Vinu Mohotty, Yashan Samarasinghe, Yoshan Kumara, Yohan Maddage


India XI

Sawami Krishan Kali (Coach), Abhilash Sharma, Abhishek Jain, Anurag Dhaliwal, Ashish Hansolia, Ashish Matthews, Makhi, Bipanpreet Singh, Danish, Harman Singh, Pavitar Shergill, Prabhjot Singh, Rachit Sharma, Satnam Grewal, Saumil Patel, Sushant Gupta, Vishalbir Thind, Vishesh Bansal


Pakistan XI

Yasir Hameed, Kamran Akmal, Adeel Asghar, Akbar Shah, Bilal Qureshi, Mohammed Ismail, Abdul Haseeb, Usman Afzal, Umair Butt, Babar Nadeem, Haseeb Qureshi, Moshin Abbas, Aman Khan, Sohail Sadiq, Junaid Kari, Asad, Hasan Ali, Qamar Awan, Yousuf



Tournament preview with Sri Lanka XI coach Bathiya Perera

Former first-class cricketer and prominent private coach Bathiya Perera, who’s also an assistant at Premier club Casey South-Melbourne, has been charged with coaching the Sri Lanka XI.


Hesitant to accept the role at first, Perera was “happy to jump in and give it a go” once he learned the tournament format would be T20.


Landing on his final squad for the tournament proved to be no easy feat, as Perera reveals they had to whittle down 90 applicants to just 15.


“We had a selection meeting and set some selection criteria, and after looking at performances and what they had done in the last two seasons, we brought the squad down to about 30,” says Perera.


“Then three weeks ago we had to bring it down to 15,” he continues, “It was a tough one. There’s some really good cricketers who missed out, but we can only have 15.”


”Ruwantha Kellepotha’s leading the side, he’s so far having a great season. He’s gone from Berwick to Casey-South Melbourne, and he’s had a game with the Victoria 2nd XI as well.


“Aaron Fernando who’s playing 1st XI at Dandenong is his deputy, and the rest of them we picked from local cricket and Subbies (VSDCA) cricket.


“It’s a fairly good side, very good mix, strong spin line-up.”


Because of the strength of his spinners, Perera expects the Sri Lanka XI to “really dominate the middle phase of the game.”


As for the other teams, Perera noted the India XI has “quite a few players from Frankston-Peninsula who are playing 1st XI, and their other players are playing a good standard of cricket as well.”


“The Australian XI is captained by Matt Chasemore, and they’ve got some pretty big names, a lot of past greats, they certainly have experience.


“It’s going to be even stevens, it could be anyone’s game,” he concludes.


In terms of players to look out for, Perera earmarked his Kellepotha as one to watch. The all-rounder was potent in the DDCA’s Turf 1 competition last season, taking 43 wickets at an average of 11.86, as well as making 375 runs. And after just one game of Premier cricket this season, Kellepotha was catapulted into Victoria’s 2nd XI, picking up two wickets against ACT/NSW Country.


Perera also likes the look of the Australia XI, impressed by the likes of Matt Chasemore, Matt Cox, Leigh Booth and Jordan Hammond.


When pressed on who he believes the strongest side is, Perera settled on the Australia XI.




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As for the tournament itself, Perera believes it’s a “good concept.”


“It’s a new concept, and hopefully it’s going to be there to stay,” he says.


“Going into the first season, there’s a lot of unknowns. They were talking about getting a lot of big names involved, but with COVID it was tough to get the overseas players to come in with the quarantine process and all the costs involved. If this happens again next year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some really big names representing all the teams.”


Perera also believes the opportunity for players to represent their country will be a “great honour and a huge pride.”


“We expect our group to turn up wanting to play and really do their best, and you can probably say the same for the other nations as well.


“It’ll be a fantastic tournament.”

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