THISARA Perera’s eagerly-awaited NatWest T20 Blast debut for Gloucestershire has been frustratingly delayed, writes Richard Latham.

The Sri Lankan World Cup winner was due to fly to England on Tuesday yesterday in time to play in tomorrow’s (Thursday) game against Kent at Cheltenham.

But a visa problem prevented that happening and Gloucestershire head coach Richard Dawson admits to being unsure when Perera will arrive at the club.

He said: “We were expecting Thisara to be available for the Kent game, but now it is just a case of taking things day by day and seeing what happens.

"I'm not sure exactly what the problem is, but obviously we are hoping it can be overcome as soon as possible."

Gloucestershire are also in T20 action against Sussex at Cheltenham on Sunday, but there is no guarantee that Perera will be in the country by then.

Dawson expects the 28-year-old all-rounder, who boasts 56 T20 international appearances, to make a significant impact with bat and ball.

Perera has also represented Sri Lanka in six Test matches and 119 one-day internationals. He was recruited as replacement for Andrew Tye following the shoulder injury suffered by the Australian seamer while playing in the Indian Premier League.

Gloucestershire’s opening NatWest Blast South Group game ended in a thrilling tie against Middlesex at the College Ground last week.

Dawson is expecting a tough game against a Kent side with a dangerous batting line-up. They have boosted their T20 squad with the signing of two New Zealanders, all-rounder Jimmy Neesham and pace bowler Adam Milne.

“We have watched footage of Kent’s opening victory over Essex and it was clear they batted very well,” said Dawson.

“They have an experienced squad with a lot of potential match-winners. But I would settle for us playing the way we did for 38 overs in the tie against Middlesex.

“We probably took some wrong options at the end of that game, but there is no point in over-analysing what happened and the fact is we did well for most of the match.

“What we have to do is learn from what went wrong at the end and make sure if we are in the same position again we close the game out.”

Skipper Michael Klinger suffered an ankle injury in the Middlesex game, but is expected to face Kent with a protective strapping.