With the start of ICC European Division 2 under a week away one player who will be competing in Belgium was this month bowling at Lord's Cricket Ground against the fierce Sri Lanka batting order.
This was Austria bowler Lakmal Kasturi, next week he will be hoping to bowl his side to victory and promotion to ICC Europe Division 1; two weeks ago he took up position as one of the net bowlers for both Sri Lanka and England Test teams before the second Test.
Here Kasturi blogs about his experience at the home of cricket.
We all know Lord's is the 'Home of Cricket' and to have had the opportunity to be involved with two of the best sides in the world, made me feel very proud. As a cricket lover, I really would not mind to be playing there every day!
Sri Lanka were the first team to be using the nets and took the morning session. Before I started bowling, Mark Alleyne, MCC Head Coach took us for a warm up session because he wanted us to be as prepared as possible, and bowling to our best right from the first ball. After the warm up I had to wait for a little while until the Sri Lanka team had prepared themselves. I was raring to go, very excited and could hardly wait to bowl that first ball.
Finally, and it seemed like ages to me and the other bowlers, the Sri Lankan coach, Stuart Law asked the MCC Head Coach for two seamers and three spinners. I knew that from three spinners I would be one of them, and I could not wait for this opportunity to bowl against some of the best players in the world.
There were three nets and I was bowling in the same net as the 'mystery' bowler, Ajantha Mendis. Mendis bowls a mixture of deliveries, including googlies, off-breaks, top-spinners, flippers and leg-breaks. The feeling you get when you have been given the opportunity to be out there with test players is so fulfilling. After all, cricket is in fact the sport to which I have dedicated almost all my life to.
Every time I bowled my perfect delivery they played an even better shot, and there was nothing more that I could have done, other than give my best, which I certainly tried to do. On some occasions I was thinking, what was I was doing, but then it came to my mind that they are test players and I did not get much help from the wicket either. I managed to beat the bat few times and I took that as a positive.
The whole day was a wonderful experience. It was really good preparation for the European Division 2 Championship in Belgium. I am playing for the Austrian national team; we have high hopes of performing well at the tournament. Belgium will be a wonderful place to play this tournament and with the new format of the game, the tournament is wide open as teams have not competed against one another at T20.
The fantastic chance about the new structure of the European tournaments is that any team has the chance to be in the ICC World Twenty20 qualifier in UAE, next March, where you will be in touching distance of ICC World Twenty20 2012, where I could be facing batsmen like this in competitive competition.
At the end of the net session, the former Sri Lankan player Champaka Ramanayake gave me a few valuable tips on how to improve my bowling. Ramanayake played 18 Tests and 62 ODIS from 1986 to 1995; it was great to have someone with his experience actually take time out to provide me with some advice. Overall, it was a great experience for me to be at the Lord's cricket ground with world class players. If cricket was a religion then the temple would be Lordís!!
I would like to thank ICC Regional Performance Officer, Philip Hudson for giving me the great opportunity to bowl at the Sri Lankan and England cricket teams. I would also like to thank Mark Alleyne, MCC Head Coach whom Philip spoke with to arrange this amazing experience.