Lindal Moor Cricket Club have moved swiftly to sign a replacement overseas player, after original choice Oshada Fernando’s startling international breakthrough with Sri Lanka.

Fernando had been signed as a player-coach with Lindal, who play in the Premier Division of the North Lancashire & Cumbria League, and was expected to make plenty of runs at the top of the order.

However, his spectacular form in the latter part of the Sri Lankan domestic season caught the eye of his country’s international selectors, especially his career-best 234 off 209 balls for Chilaw Marians against Colts.

It led to the 26-year-old being called up for their tour of South Africa, where he struck an unbeaten 75 in the second Test to help secure a famous 2-0 series whitewash last month.

Fernando was then selected for the ongoing ODI series between the two countries and with a Cricket World Cup call-up this summer now looking likely, he was unable to honour his deal with Lindal.

Chairman Paul Clarke said: “In the old days, this used to happen a bit more often and there used to be a number of high-profile players in the league.

“Nowadays, it’s quite unusual. The league quite often gets pros who go on to bigger and better things, but for Oshada that happened quite quickly.

“Once he was selected, we kind of knew that it was unlikely that he would be coming.

“He’s still then had to make it into the Test side into the Test squad and once he made it into the Test side, that’s when he got in touch with us and said he’d spoken to the selectors and they weren’t going to let him travel to England in the summer.

“That was because of a Test series against New Zealand in August and then he made it into the one-day side, so with his performances I think it’s very likely that he’ll be playing in the World Cup.”

Lindal have landed on their feet, however, in bringing in Sri Lanka Army captain Janith Silva, a player they had been keen on in the past, as Fernando’s replacement for the upcoming campaign, which begins on April 20.

Clarke said: “We’re quite lucky that we’ve got someone who was our first choice a couple of years ago before he couldn’t make it over.

“Janith is more of a bowler than a batsman, but it looks like we’ve managed to strengthen our batting line-up this year, so this will actually work in our favour.

“We’ve now got a bowling all-rounder, someone who can open the bowling for us and bat at number five. It gives us a more balanced batting line-up.”