BT: – Hello Kumar, how’s your recovery from a hamstring niggle taking shape?
KS: – Well thankfully I am fit, and raring to go. So grateful to Tommy Simsek and Jade Roberts they have been monitoring my recovery, and I am thankful that I have recovered to full fitness in relatively a short span of time.
BT: – In terms of what a hamstring rupture can do to you in terms of the recovery period, is it fair to state that you were saved by the bell?
KS: – The rupture was not as bad as the hamstring injury I suffered in Australia last time around. It took me 17 days to get back to the gym, this injury is relatively milder, Yes, you are spot on when you state that I was saved by the bell and like I made mention the recovery period was quick thanks to the guidance of the physiotherapist who ensured that I followed his instructions every step of the way.
BT:- Kumar you will play your 3 ODI’s in three different venues namely the MCG, the SCG and at the GABBA in Brisbane, what is the venue you reckon will be to your style of Cricket and why?
KS: – Things have changed mate. The SCG that gave our spinners a bit more bite in the years gone is now quicker, it offers more bounce, well Brisbane and the MCG have different characteristics which we are used to…Perth, as we all know is the quickest and has more bounce than most venues in down under. In the yester year we did well at the SCG, thanks to our spinners, but we take heart in our combination now, because we have an exceptional seam and an equally good spin attack.
BT: – The old fox “Murali” is back in your squad, you also have Suraj Randiv as your second off spinner, does this mean the latter will be more in the bench than on the field taking into consideration that it’s just 3 ODI’s?
KS: – Great to have Murali back. He is the best spinner we have by far. Randiv will have his share of work taking into consideration the injury to Angelo Mathews which restricts him from bowling. It all depends on the pitch condition. If we have to play two spinners we will pursue with both. We keep our options open.
BT: – I read an interesting comment made by former great Roy Dias; he is of the view, that the selectors should include Samaraweera in the middle order to bring stability, while Chaminda Vass could be a surprise package to the opposition taking into consideration his recent form in good old blighty?
KS: – Look, Chaminda Vass is one of the greatest seamers in world Cricket. He is among the top 5 in the world. He got a great rating in the county circle in the recently concluded T20 season. He will always be in the equation. Remember the tour to Australia is a short turn around. We will assess as to how Vass will fare bowling 10 overs, on subcontinetal conditions. He has been exceptional on green tops in England where he has to bowl just 4 overs. He is an absolute professional; I look forward to his comeback. Roy is right; Thilan Samaraweera is an important cog in the wheel in the middle order. He will not be discouraged for not being a part of the tour party to Australia this time around. In fact no player should be. Thilina Kandamby is also in the reckoning, what I’m trying to state here is that a spot in the national squad for all these players is wide open.
BT: – Will you pursue with Mahela Jayawardena to open the innings with Dilshan?
KS: – Mahela, has proved himself as a player who can bat in any position, he is an exceptional player. He is a team man; he will put his hand up and bat in any position that the team wants him to bat at. His quality, as a player is far beyond compare, we are blessed that we have an option with Mahela in the side.
BT: – Ajantha Mendis is out of the equation for the tour of down under this time around, hence what areas do you want him to improve to stamp his permanency in the squad?
KS: – Ajantha is a fine bowler who is a permanent member, depending on the type of wickets and the opposition as well. He will be in the forefront, that’s for sure. Rangana Herath is also in the reckoning. To Australia we have Jeevan Mendis an all rounder who bowls leg spin. I am blessed with all the options in the spin department and this to me is fantastic, to state the least.
BT: – Kumar you don’t need a rocket scientist to tell you that the Aussies in their own back yard are a unit very difficult to beat, well based on what I have stated have you worked on some loopholes to get the better of them?
KS: – Let’s be realistic. There are no loopholes against the Australians. We have to believe in ourselves, that we are good enough to beat them. All 15 members have this belief. We have to be better than our best, stay focused and get the job done. Our team is not only capable but extremely talented to reach our objective of winning the series.
BT: – Let’s revisit your One Day career so far. In 276 ODI’s you have made 8510 runs, 10 centuries and 58 fifties, don’t you think your conversion rate in the fifties column to the three figure mark can improve?
KS: – Yes I do admit that I could have and should have converted the fifties into the three figure mark. Well I have batted in different positions when I started my career, I will pursue to get to that magical figure of a century, and look at the conversion rate with a positive frame of mind.
BT:- Kumar in Australia in 31 ODI’s you have made 1191 runs. Your best effort being 128, your average 41.6, your strike rate is a pertinent factor and indicates at 77.43. Kumar you have made one century and 9 fifties, are you honestly satisfied with this effort?
KS: – I have the best average against the Australians in comparison to other oppositions. I want to improve on this; hence hopefully I grab this opportunity since we have 3 games against them.
BT: – I just watched Sachin Tendulkar score his 6th double hundred in Test Cricket, he went pass 14000 Test runs in the process, during the mid break discussion Tom Moody your former coach stated, that Sachin Tendulkar, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena are players who can bat for long periods, and the big boys of the Asian subcontinent, what a feather on you cap Kumar!
KS: – I am flattered Brian, Sachin is one among the greatest. Wish I was as good as him. 14,000 Test runs that’s a dream run. If I Could get to 10,000 runs with 30 centuries I will be a happy man. I have played 22 Tests less than Mahela; I have to do a lot of catching up. I will work hard to get their, not for my personal glory, but purely for my country and the Cricket loving Sri Lankans.
BT: – Always it’s a pleasure talking to you, how are your twins? Keeping you busy at home?
KS: – My wife Yahali and my two babies are a breath of fresh air. They fill up my senses; they give me hope, I am so glad to be a dad and I am thankful to God for all the mercies for giving me two adorable twins, and a love of my life in Yeheli.
BT: – “Respice Finem” Kumar.
KS:- Thanks Brian, just realized that you are a half bred Trinitian, great motto from the best institution “ Look to The End”
Interviewed by Brian Thomas – Media Manager of SLC.