By Nick Creely
Off the back of a disappointing 2020/21 Subbies season, there is renewed optimism down at Syd Pargeter Reserve for Endeavour Hills.
It’s an exciting time for a club that has faced its fair share of challenges in recent years.
The Eagles will be looking to bounce back from their last-placed finish last season, and will have former Sri Lankan captain Tillakaratne Dilshan at their disposal as captain.
The 44-year-old, who was originally signed up to line up with Mulgrave in the two clubs’ joint venture, played 87 Test matches, 330 ODIs and 80 Twenty20s for his country, scoring over 15,000 international runs.
But he has been released from Mulgrave after the club recently announced that its much-publicised international signings this season wouldn’t go ahead due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Covid-19.
Dilsha is known as one of the most innovative ODI batters of all time, and scored 39 international centuries across his glittering career, which also included a stint as Sri Lankan captain in all formats after the 2011 World Cup. He is an out-and-out Sri Lankan legend.
But now living in Melbourne, he will skipper the Eagles in local cricket this season in one of the biggest signings in club history.
Dilshan did play some cricket in Melbourne last season, featuring seven times for Premier Cricket outfit Casey-South Melbourne, scoring a half-century and taking 11 wickets, while he also played as Mulgrave’s marquee player in the Twenty20s.
In announcing Dilshan’s signing, Endeavour Hills could barely contain its excitement.
“The prospect of having a player of the status of Dilshan at the Endeavour Hills Cricket Club is an exciting one for the members of the club,” the club said.
“(Dilshan will) no doubt add his significant presence to the growing number of quality cricketers making the sub district competition their home.”
In further exciting news, the Eagles will also have the services of current Sri Lankan vice-captain Lahiru Thirimanne, who is also based out of Melbourne, for a handful of games prior to Christmas.
The 32-year-old top-order batter – who has 42 Tests and 127 ODIs with seven international centuries – will further bolster the Eagles’ batting line-up in his brief appearance.
While there is still plenty of potential changes to the start date of the local cricket season, at this stage the Subbies season is hoping to start in early to mid November.