Overseas star set for Cuckfield return

Sri Lankan all-rounder Nipun Karunanayake is set to return to T20 Cup holders Cuckfield for 2022.

The 30-year-old will look to fire Cuckfield back to the Sussex Cricket League Premier Division at the first attempt after last season’s relegation from Sussex’s top flight.

The Sri Lankan was a starring light for the Mid Sussex outfit last summer.

Karunanayake was the seventh-highest run scorer in the Premier Division despite Cuckfield finishing second from bottom.

Sri Lankan all-rounder Nipun Karunanayake is set to return to T20 Cup holders Cuckfield for 2022. Picture by Steve Robards

The left-handed batsman scored 599 runs in 17 games at an average of 37.44. The all-rounder also helped himself to three half-centuries and two tons.

The leg-spinner took 13 Premier Division wickets in 72.2 overs, finishing the season with an average of 24.31.

Karunanayake also hit the fourth-highest number of runs as Cuckfield lifted Sussex’s premier T20 competition.

Cuckfield, who were without the Sri Lankan for the showpiece final at the 1st Central County Ground, recorded a 24-run victory over Brighton-based St Peters in September to take county honours.

Karunanayake bludgeoned 139 runs in just three T20 Cup games at an average of 69.50, bagging two 50s in the process.

He also took three wickets in nine overs, concluding the tournament with an average of 18.

Cuckfield captain Ben Candfield is delighted to see the talismanic Sri Lankan return to Mid Sussex for the 2022 campaign.

The skipper said: “We are all very happy to have Nipun back for the 2022 season. He proved a fantastic performer on the pitch scoring nearly 600 league runs and taking 13 wickets.

“It will also be great for our junior section having a high quality coach, as well as members of the senior squads who can continue to learn.

“He was a perfect fit at Cuckfield being a genuinely lovely person, and we all think extending our relationship with Nipun will be a benefit to the club as whole in 2022.”

This summer will see Cuckfield do battle with fellow Mid Sussex outfits St James’s Montefiore, Burgess Hill, Lindfield, and Haywards Heath, who also suffered relegation from the Premier Division, in their bid for Division 2 glory.