LECHLADE have swooped to make New Zealand Under 19 international Arnie Yugaraja their overseas player for 2013.
The 21-year-old all-rounder joins the Manor Ground outfit having recently played for his country at the ICC Under 19 World Cup in Australia and represents a significant coup for the club as they start life at a higher level following promotion to the WEPL Glos/Wilts Division.
Lechlade chairman Paul Rowley insisted he did not have to break the bank to bring Yugaraja, who has experience in England following a stint with Surrey Championship side Chipstead in 2011, to the Gloucestershire village.
He said: “We’re on a pretty small budget and we’ve done it on a very small budget. A couple of nice, friendly, generous people have helped out so the cost to the club is minimal which is great.
“You can get Test class players if you’ve got the money to get them, but we’re not in that league and we won’t be in that league.
“We like the young players, not necessarily the gnarled old pros from Australia who will tell you how to run your club within half an hour of getting off the plane. It will be experience for him, loads of energy, enthusiasm and hopefully talent.
“He’s been picked to play for his country at under 19 level. Admittedly he didn’t set the world alight in the World Cup in Australia, he was a bit of a bit-part player but he looks a good cricketer on paper.
“On the shoestring budget I think we’ve got a good cricketer for a modest outlay. I saw the overseas player Potterne have got for next year and he’s a Sri Lanka A player and I almost fell off my chair. I suspect that they’ve parted with a few more pound notes than we have.
“Hopefully he will fit in, score runs, take wickets, help out with the junior coaching and I’ve got it first hand he’s a good bloke.”
Yugaraja is a left-handed batsman who is more than competent with the ball, and his nifty off-breaks will provide a useful asset for head coach Luke Sellers over the coming months.
Rowley is hopeful the addition of the Kiwi will spur his side on to establishing themselves at their new level.
“We’ve had overseas players for 10 or 11 years,” he said. “We’ve been promoted into the Glos/Wilts and the last time we went up there we came straight back down again, so we’re trying to make a better fist of it this time.
“We’re a better, stronger, deeper club in terms of quality in personnel than we were back then but even so we want to make a decent fist of it. That’s the thinking behind it - to have a really good go of the Glos/Wilts Division and see if we can make some waves up there.”