Tony Opatha, the first overseas professional in NW cricket, has died in his native Sri Lanka at the age of 73.

In 1979, a chance conversation between Billy Henderson, then with Eglinton, and Tony Opatha, a touring Sri Lankan, saw Opatha joining the villagers for the remainder of the season.

Opatha played in both the 1975 and 1979 World Cups for Sri Lanka, and played a major role in their shock win in the 1979 event against India, taking three wickets.

He also played in Holland.

A fine right-arm medium pace bowler and lower order batsman, he took 111 first-class wickets.