Exceptionally positive, courteous and hardworking in addition to being a remarkably talented cricketer, the impression Ashen made, both on and off the field at Great Harwood has been significant.
Our first ever Sri Lankan professional, Ash was previously professional at Bury CC and initially came to our attention upon playing two games in the 2015 season as a sub pro following injury to Joe Hawke. Ash took seven wickets and scored 32* and 101* respectively. On the back of these performances, he was signed for the 2016 season.
Ashen was eager to get involved in every aspect of the club, assisting our groundsman with wicket preparation, participating in club social events whilst also overseeing both junior and senior training.
Ash had a fine first season; a remarkable 157* away at Read on the last day of the season ensured he passed the 1000 run mark, closing with 1035 runs and 38 wickets despite missing several early weeks with an ankle injury sustained in the season opener away at Baxenden.
He followed this up with 924 runs and 44 wickets in 2017 before scoring 974 runs and taking 47 wickets in 2018.
I caught up with Ash in November 2016 as he prepares for his domestic season
Ash, you’re currently back in Sri Lanka, our season having ended, and despite being busy with your domestic season, we know that, like us, you’re obviously counting down the seconds until you can come back to Great Harwood. We miss you! How are you?
I’m doing great and of course counting days to come back to Great Harwood. Busy with training and looking forward to the first class season
What have you been up to since returning home, and what do you have planned for the coming months?
Nothing much, had few meals with family and had a break from cricket for 4 weeks and our first class season starts in 25th of November and goes till the first week of April in 2017.
Having spent a season with you, most of us players feel we know you quite well, but for visitors to our site, club members, spectators that may have seen you play, can you give us a brief background. Who is Ashen Silva?
Ashen Silva is a simple, quiet and friendly person who likes to meet people! I started cricket at the age of 6 at school. My dad was very excited to see me as a cricketer. So he put me in to the academy of my school at the age of 6. Suddenly I played for my school in all age groups and started playing first class cricket in 2011/2012 season. Sir Vivian Richards was my idol and loved Brian Lara also
What drives/motivates you?
Hunger for runs drives me mad and trying to keep up my reputation motivates me
Do you have any particular personal cricketing career highlights?
I played for Sri Lanka A team from 2013 to 2014 and also I got selected to Sri Lanka test squad in 2013 for the Bangladesh tour of Sri Lanka.
I represented Sri Lanka board Presidents XI in 2012 with England and scored 70 in the first innings and it was a memorable day for me coz I played with all superstars in England. I especially enjoyed facing Jimmy Anderson
What have you enjoyed or otherwise about your first season at Great Harwood?
I thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality of Harwood people. They were fabulous. Felt like home. Cricket wise, I had a bad start to the summer by doing my ankle and then Stuart looked after myself like a brother and it came to my mind that I’m a part of this Harwood family and I need to give my best to them.
I think I did my level best and I missed few runs I still feel. And I never thought I’ll have a good season with my dodgy ankle. And the most important thing was in this season was my bowling. Improved a lot thanks to Masooq and Brian Bowling. A big thank for them two
You’ve had two seasons now in the U.K. How does it differ to Sri Lanka and do you miss anything about the U.K. when you’re not here?
I miss all those late nights with lads, and of course the cold weather and the rain. And I love the time being spent coaching the young ones.
We’re obviously delighted to have you with us for a further two years. Could you give us your thoughts on our club, what made you keen to re-sign here and what you hope we can achieve together in the coming years?
As I mentioned in response to the previous question, Great Harwood was different. The people were amazingly friendly and in one word I made a home away from home. And everybody respected me so I gave it back. That’s why I signed for two years. I love those kind of people; cricket is not all. I think we can be a big name in Lancashire League and obviously I will work hard with our youngsters and make a good backup for Great Harwood Cricket Club
Looking to the future, you have been close to the Sri Lankan national team previously, and international honours remain a distinct possibility. Is that the dream?
Obviously that’s the ultimate goal of every cricketer to represent the country. It’s same with me. Can’t explain the feeling which I got in 2013 that I was announced to the national squad.
We’re moving into the Lancashire League for the 2017 season. Are you looking forward to the new challenge?
Yeah I’m looking forward to play in the Lancashire League. Not many srilankans played the Lancashire League and it’s a great honor. I’m ready for the challenge, and my team Great Harwood.
And finally, your team mates over here. Can you tell me three good, and three bad things about them?
Good things – helps each other, good team spirit, know how to enjoy 😂.
Bad things – sometimes they don’t believe in themselves, negative feelings about the capabilities, that’s what I saw about bad side. Nothing else!