Sri Lanka’s charismatic national fast bowling coach Anusha Samaranayake met up with srilankacricket.lk staff to share his thoughts on many aspects related to the art of fast bowling in Sri Lanka.
Q: Currently, Sri Lanka is blessed with so many quality fast bowlers unlike in the past. What has attributed to this sudden change?
Even in the past we had some impressive fast bowlers but unfortunately most of them fell out due to fitness and injury issues. Nowadays the game has changed so much and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is offering so much of support by way of professional training and facilities. In the past there were so many quick bowlers who fell out due to financial constraints, but SLC has contracted so many players ,that such unfortunate events will not happen in the future.
Q: You mentioned that we had impressive fast bowlers in the past, do you believe that they bowled as quick as Malinga or Dilhara?
I can safely mention that Greame Labrooy and Rumesh Rathnayake bowled well in excess of 140KmpH. Rumesh at his peak would have touched 150Kmph. But unfortunately for him most of his performances came amidst niggling injuries. If not, his career stats would be far more impressive.
Q: In your current fast bowling academy do you have anyone who can bowl in that speeds range (140-150Kmph)?
Yes there is! Nuwan Pradeep Fernando can touch 150Kmph mark as of now. He’s got express pace and he’s also accurate. He’s a very special bowler. Comes at the batsman with a very long run up and his pace has troubled many batsmen in the domestic circuit.
Q: Does he have ability to swing the ball?
He can swing the ball both ways although he’s yet to master the control of the inswinger. He’s also got ability to reverse swing the old ball.
Q: If he’s got all the attributes as you mentioned, why is he not playing for Sri Lanka?
He needs to improve his fitness to improve his sustainability. Nuwan needs a few more seasons of domestic Cricket as he is new to leather ball Cricket. Other than that he has all the attributes of becoming an international sensation.
Q: Any positives you witnessed of your lads at the recently concluded Inter Provincial tournament?
Thilan Thushara impressed me with the way he came back after getting hit for 60 runs during the previous game. The way he worked hard and won the Semi Final for his team was heartening. Dilhara also seems to be shaping up really well. He looks to be building up good rhythm.
Q: How important is Dilhara for the national team?
He’s one of the few guys who can be considered as”genuinely quick” in Sri Lanka. In international Cricket you have to be bowling over the 140 Kmph mark and he can do that consistently. If not, a bowler has to be dead accurate and need to be clever in variations like Vaas and Kulasekera, to make an impact in the international arena.
Q: Chaminda Vaas has retired from Test Cricket but is looking for a place in the shorter version of the game. Your thoughts on him?
Vaas has been the best fast bowler ever produced in Sri Lanka. He’s very keen to represent the national side in time for the upcoming World Cup. His skills will be very useful in the sub continental conditions. Vaasy is working hard at practices and with a few impressive performances in the domestic circuit will bring him a place in the squad for the World Cup.