Newly crowned Lancashire League champions Haslingden have wasted no time in planning the defence of their title by signing Sri Lankan Pasan Wanasinghe as professional for the 2005 season.
Previously at Unsworth, Wasala Mudiyanselage Pasan Nirmitha Wanasinghe has been professional at Radcliffe in the Central Lancashire League for the past two seasons and stood in four times for Haslingden in their 2004 championship campaign, scoring 173 runs at 57.7 and taking 12 wickets at 14.9.
The 34 year-old right handed early order batsman and right arm medium pace bowler was also sub professional for Lowerhouse in 2003, scoring 95 and taking 4-52 in the league game against Rawtenstall.
Currently playing for Ragama Cricket Club back home in Sri Lanka, Wanasinghe has hit 4049 First-class runs at 28.1 and taken 203 wickets at 26.4 since making his debut in 1990-91 for Galle.
Haslingden have been beset by injured professionals in the last two seasons with their paid men managing just five league appearances between them as first Jerry Cassell and then Andrew McDonald returned home injured. In 2004 Haslingden used 13 sub professionals.
Haslingden Chairman Mark Rothwell said: "Pasan has played in the Central Lancashire League for five consecutive seasons during which he has never missed a game through injury and stayed for the duration of the season on each occasion. He has proven league credentials and can adapt his game to suit conditions in Lancashire. He has just had his best ever season with the bat scoring over 1100 runs and taking over 70 wickets. We have also made this signing with his coaching abilities in mind. He is a level 2 ECB coach and very keen to coach our large and talented junior section, many of whom have come through the junior ranks never having had the benefit of professional coaching."
Wanasinghe is the club's first Sri Lankan professional. Haslingden are the 7th club to confirm a signing for 2005.