THE temperatures have finally begun to rise this week and that can only mean one thing: the cricket season is upon us, and there will be a distinct Sri Lankan influence in the area this year.

The Premier Division of the newly-renamed Cumbria Cricket League gets underway tomorrow, in which four of our clubs will be in action.

Two of them will clash at Pennington Lane, where Lindal Moor will welcome treble-winning Furness, and both have high hopes that they can make more of an impression in the league.

Lindal just survived relegation last year, finishing just three points ahead of Haverigg, and there has been plenty of change over the winter, during which they thought they would have an international in their midst.

At first, Oshada Fernando was signed up as their overseas player, but his recent success with Sri Lanka, as a result of his spectacular domestic form, meant they had to look elsewhere.

Thankfully, they did not have to look far as Fernando’s countryman, medium-pace bowler Janith Silva, will step into the side, which is now captained by Jack Cumberbatch, a man so entrenched in the club, he helped to build their pavilion.

Cumberbatch replaces Eddie Waind as skipper, while new faces include Dean Williams, who begins his second spell at Lindal, and Ryan Gilmour, an arrival from Barrow.

Furness, the highest South Lakes finisher in the league last season, are building on a campaign that led to the South Lakes T20, Higson Cup and Cumbria County Cup all being secured in the trophy cabinet.

They will be fielding another player who was earned international honours with Sri Lanka, in spinner Sachith Pathirana, while they have also had a change in captaincy, with Peter Lawson replacing Scott Pearcy.

While they were a dab hand in the cups in 2018, Furness are hoping to find greater consistency in the league and improve on last year’s third-placed finish.

There are high hopes for youngsters Wyll Stanway and Josh Shaw too, with both having enjoyed a strong winter in Australia.

Dalton have gone down the Sri Lankan route with their professional for 2019 too, bringing in Lasith Lakshan to strengthen their top order and add to their bowling options with his off-spin.

Lakshan has experienced English conditions before, having enjoyed strong season with Southgate in the Middlesex County League four year ago as part of a Sri Lankan Academy programme.

Dalton, who finished ninth in the Premier Division last year, open their season away to Division One champions Egremont.

The other team in action tomorrow are Millom, away to Keswick, and they have Sameera Sadamal back as their professional.

Millom will hope Sadamal can have a similar impact as 2018, where he scored 813 runs at an average of 42.79 and chipped in with 29 wickets.

Tomorrow’s fixtures

Cumbria Cricket League Premier Division (1pm): Cleator v Workington, Cockermouth v Carlisle, Egremont v Dalton, Keswick v Millom, Lindal Moor v Furness, Wigton v Whitehaven.