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'If we make pitches for spin, our fast bowling stocks won't improve'

Pace bowlers in Sri Lanka are doomed until there is a change in attitude and in the first-class structure

Andrew Fidel Fernando

October 2, 2013

Comments: 39 | Text size: A | A

Shaminda Eranga broke Bangladesh's big opening stand, Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, 3rd day, Colombo, March 18, 2013
Shaminda Eranga is the only fast bowler among Sri Lanka's next generation to average under 40 with the ball in Tests © Associated Press
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When Sri Lanka arrived in Australia in 2012, they approached the first Test in Hobart with a peculiar but telling wish. "If the wicket has a bit in it, our fast bowlers have a chance against the Australian batsmen," Kumar Sangakkara said. "Pitches like that make fast bowlers really enthusiastic to play, and elevate guys who don't have much pace."

Five years earlier, when Muttiah Muralitharan was Sri Lanka's top gun on tour, Sangakkara might not have dreamt he'd be hoping for a fast bowler's pitch in Australia.

There were no greentops for Sri Lanka in 2012, though, and while Rodney Hogg's appraisal of the visiting pace attack as the worst to ever tour Down Under was founded on nothing more than cursory research, Sri Lanka's fast men did not manage a performance to prove Hogg completely misguided either. Rangana Herath outbowled Sri Lanka's seamers by a distance on pitches that suited the Australian quicks. On their biggest tour in years, Sri Lanka's attack had been brutally exposed in the land of pace and bounce. They were thumped more severely than many expected.

Murali's retirement in 2010 came amid grave concern over who could possibly carry his slow-bowling cross, but Chaminda Vaas' departure a year earlier should perhaps have been cause for more worry. Sri Lanka's domestic arrangement has long been suited to producing good-quality spin options for the top level, but there has never been an abundance of polished fast bowlers on the island.

In 2013 that scarcity shows no sign of abating. A promising few have formed a battery that Vaas, now the national fast bowling coach, is charged with turning into a match-winning group, but below them there are few who might challenge for places in the top team.

Even the talent that has been identified is of the unvarnished variety. Of Suranga Lakmal, Dhammika Prasad, Shaminda Eranga and Nuwan Pradeep, only Eranga has a Test average just below 40. None of them have played 15 Tests, and with the injury-prone Chanaka Welegedara now seemingly jettisoned, there is no figure that might serve as an on-field mentor, should a bowler begin to ail.

It is a singular dearth for Sri Lanka, who have strode forward in almost every other aspect in 31 years of Test cricket. Two batsmen have now gone past 10,000 Test runs, and a third, Aravinda de Silva, might also lay claim to batting greatness. In Murali and Herath, Sri Lanka have had spinners who have been the best in the world at their craft at some point in their careers - by ranking, if not always by consensus. They have also often been the best fielding team in Asia. Yet only one of their fast bowlers has enjoyed a laudable Test career.

"I think one of the biggest issues is the pitches in our domestic cricket," says Vaas, who began his work with the Sri Lankan team in March. "Many times it's very difficult for fast bowlers to get anything out of the surface, but the spinners thrive. If we continue to make pitches just for spin, our fast bowling stocks aren't going to improve."

Vaas' contention about local pitches could hardly be borne out more plainly in first-class cricket. Each of the 14 top wicket-takers in this year's Premier League tournament is a slow bowler. In the top 20, only two bowl fast. For many teams, it has been common practice for spinners to take the new ball in the second innings, when quicks become a speculative plan B at best, or entirely superfluous at worst. It's worth noting too that unlike in almost every other Test-playing nation, first-class cricket in Sri Lanka is only a three-day pursuit, yet wearing surfaces feature as a matter of routine.

 
 
"Apart from trying to get some good bounce, sometimes there's not much else you can do - the ball doesn't move. It's easy to wonder if you wouldn't be better off doing something else" Shaminda Eranga
 

"You have to really struggle, and I think as a fast-bowling group in Sri Lanka, we all know and experience that," says Eranga. "In a given match you might be effective for the first one or two hours, but after that the spinners have a better chance of taking wickets. Apart from trying to get some good bounce, sometimes there's not much else you can do - the ball doesn't move. You have to really push yourself to make something happen, and when you do that, you can get injured. It's easy to wonder if you wouldn't be better off doing something else."

A bloated first-class structure has rightly been blamed for diluting talent and broadening the chasm between domestic and Test cricket, but it is also largely responsible for making Sri Lanka a seam bowler's graveyard, says former Test bowler Champaka Ramanayake, who has coached in Sri Lanka for well over a decade. Of the 20 first-class clubs, only about half have home venues. The same squares are played on weekly during the domestic season, reducing many of them to dustbowls just a few weeks into the competition.

"It's tough on our curators, and it's hard to blame them," says Ramanayake. "In a two-month first-class tournament, they might play eight or nine three-day matches on the same square, in addition to the practices for one or two teams a week. Even in our schools system, the pitches are overused. Many schools don't have a ground, so a lot of them hire the same venues for matches. From a young age it's much better for the spinners than the fast bowlers."

Watching slow bowlers scythe through sides, while being sapped by Colombo's heat and humidity, can often be debilitating psychologically, Eranga says. You exert more energy than any other player on the field but reap the leanest profit. Going to practice becomes a chore, and inspiration is hard to come by, when week after week, playing in the XI means justifying your place in the side.

"One of the most important things as a coach is building our fast bowlers back up again mentally," Vaas says. "You have to get them to the right psychological space from where they can begin to learn the other things that will make them good fast bowlers. That is not something they often learn in domestic cricket. They get discouraged quickly and find it hard to develop into thinking bowlers who know how to back batsmen into a corner and force a mistake."

In addition to lacking lessons in application, the benefits of honing long-form skills are also unclear for domestic fast bowlers. New deliveries are introduced into an ever-expanding wheelhouse at the expense of Test-match virtues and temperament. Spells are short and sparse, so the temptation to strike quickly with a new-fangled surprise ball seems preferable to bowling tight spells and working batsmen out, says Ramanayake. Dilhara Fernando's split-finger slower ball is virtually impossible to pick, but he has mastered neither the movement nor the discipline that might have seen him succeed in Tests.

"They learn a lot of variations, because that's the only way to get wickets," Ramanayake says. "That's why we do well in ODIs, where variations help. They don't use seam movement or swing to get wickets, because there is nothing off the surface. Those are the skills you need for Tests. When they get to a higher level, they need to learn all those things. That takes time."

Sri Lanka's young fast bowlers must acquire new skills to become an international threat. Vaas' cutters and slower balls deceived batsmen in ODIs, but in Tests he was foremost a disciple of swing, seam and reverse swing, which he allied with uncompromising accuracy and adaptive cunning. He was the king of the long con: setting a batsman up for several overs - sometimes across spells - before swindling him with one that seamed the other way or held its line. As Sri Lanka's bowlers often arrive with neither the ability nor the nous to adhere to such a blueprint, there is also no guarantee that men who take wickets in first-class cricket can become successful in internationals. This in turn flummoxes the selection process.

"You almost have to begin learning again when you get to the Sri Lanka team, because there is such a huge difference between playing domestic cricket and international cricket," Eranga says. "The quality of the batsmen you are playing against is much higher. They are much more proficient against fast bowling, and you have to do different things to get them out. Being consistent and doing something with the ball are crucial."


Chaminda Vaas talks to fast bowler Suranga Lakmal during a practice session in Galle before the start of the Test series against Bangladesh, Bangladesh tour to Sri Lanka, Galle, March 6, 2013
Chaminda Vaas: "You have to get them to the right psychological space from where they can begin to learn what will make them good fast bowlers" © AFP
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Sri Lanka Cricket has worked to improve the quality of competition by relegating six teams from the first-class tournament, but that step is unlikely to alleviate the burden on the first-class grounds. The new second-tier tournament that the relegated teams form is set to be played at the same venues, in tandem with the premier competition.

There are no plans to ease ground scarcity from the supply end either. The board cannot afford to invest in first-class venues, having run its finances into the dirt building grand stadiums in Pallekele and Hambantota. Both venues boast world-class facilities, but neither is close enough to the Colombo cricket epicentre to be a viable first-class ground.

When Sri Lanka returned from Australia this year, Angelo Mathews inherited the Test captaincy and set a top-three ranking in Tests as a primary goal for his tenure. With away tours to England and New Zealand in the next 18 months, he will require his pace attack to develop quickly if he is to lift the side from its current seventh spot. For seam bowling's long-term future, though, the administration is yet to offer a compelling solution. As it has been now for decades, Sri Lanka conspires to remain no country for fast men.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

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Posted by RuwanFer on (October 7, 2013, 19:35 GMT)

@KingOwl Interesting and actually a good point tht.

Posted by KingOwl on (October 7, 2013, 15:42 GMT)

My suggestion is that the coaching/training needs to be done based on geography. Specifically for fast bowlers: The coaching staff need to be based in up country, where the weather is cooler and conditions are more favourable for fast bowling. Also, it is easier to prepare more fast bowler friendly wickets there. The emerging fast bowlers should all play for teams based in those up country towns and should play most of their games at home. There has also got to be a system where young school boy fast bowlers with potential are identified very early (around 12-14 years) and sent on scholarship to schools based in up country. I think as long as they play in the energy sapping humidity of Colombo all their lives, they will never become natural fast bowlers.

Posted by KingOwl on (October 7, 2013, 15:29 GMT)

This stuff is all true. A lot of things can be done to improve the stuff of fast bowlers. But let's not forget that Vaas had the same challenges and he still achieved a lot in all forms of cricket. So, it is not impossible. Look at India - they don't have many of the infrastructure problems that SL has. Still Indian fast bowlers are pretty mediocre too.

Posted by   on (October 5, 2013, 2:30 GMT)

Maybe some countries don't want to play test cricket. After all other England and Australia and some extent SA the audience has moved on

Posted by ARad on (October 4, 2013, 12:40 GMT)

Bowlers win Tests. You have to be able to take 20 wickets in a Test but Sri Lanka has rarely produced world class bowlers. Besides the factors Fernando mentions in the article, the Sri Lankan culture is very-English like when there were gentlemen and amateurs. Batting suits the 'aristocratic' players (mostly from well-to-do families in big cities) and bowling is for those from 'tough' backgrounds. There are exceptions but this is the rule. Further, as long as SLC is manned by those who value cronyism and political favors, do not expect too much change except some cosmetic ones such as building stadia in unworthy locations that Fernando mentions above. (Think about why that happens.) SLC needs leadership with vision, integrity and a sense of fairness, not to mention the ability to balance the budget. Since politicians are the real masters, until Sri Lankan people choose politicians who value such attributes and work towards changing the existing culture, not much is going to get solved.

Posted by Perera32 on (October 4, 2013, 12:01 GMT)

@Steve Back : Mate, you've got this completely wrong. Economy rates don't have a big impact in Tests, but they do in ODI's and T20's. If the bowler has a bowling average of near 30, thats good enough whatever the economy rate. All that matters is if they can get a wicket after conceding 30 or so runs. Why is it so hard for you to admit Malinga's record in the 30 matches hes played (22 in flat sub-continental conditions) is a good record for a fast bowler.

How could you compare Wasim/Steyn with Malinga in Test matches? I never called Malinga " A Great", all I said was he was a good bowler who deserved a mention. If he'd played more that record (Econ + Average) would've improved. It's always difficult to compare averages vs a team if the player has only played 1 or 2 Tests against a team too.

As for your previous argument about Zimbabwe having better Fast bowlers than Sri Lanka: I'm still not convinced at all. Now are you trying to say Streak was better than Vaas?, Really?

Posted by   on (October 3, 2013, 19:50 GMT)

@Perera32: You honestly don't think economy rates merit a mention? Really? You are aware that Test cricket is about bowling the opposition out for as few runs as possible, yes? So that the opposition team score fewer runs?

Waqar Younis and Dale Steyn were aggressive fast bowlers who prioritized pace over control. Yet they could/can bowl accurately at the same time and tie an end down reasonably well. Both went for less than 3.4 an over despite their all-out attack attitude and this helped them maintain very low averages.

I'm sorry, but anyone who thinks an economy of nearly 4 merits no mention at all to a bowler's legacy is misguided. Lasith Malinga cannot be called "great" at test cricket in any sense of the word - which was my original premise. While you point out Streak's breakdown, we'll do the same to Malinga: vs Aus: 40. vs England: 49. vs SA: 45. vs Pak: 38. Your points about Streak, you could equally say that Vaas had lesser records against Eng, Ind, and Pak.

Posted by   on (October 3, 2013, 18:34 GMT)

@RuwanFer Your right i like how Vimukthi Perera got a chance. He is a good bowler along with Charith Jayampathi. My point with Kasun is that even tough hes inexperienced its still better to chose him who has age on his side and is an accurate, improving bowler than someone like Nuwan Pradeep who is an inaccurate bowler. Kasun has basically the same amount of wickets but less matches. Test cricket is all about a persons ability to be accurate and take wickets. I think Nuwan Pradeep is a perfect ODI bowler but he has a long way to go in terms of test.

Posted by   on (October 3, 2013, 15:26 GMT)

Another area which can have a positive impact on Sri Lanka's bowling as a whole -fast as well as spin , when playing abroad is their well - their batting. Their batsmen regularly need to put up 450 plus scores on the board. This will make the bowlers bowl with their tail up. At present the bowlers are always under pressure to take wickets as well as defend when they travel abroad because of the repeated failure of their batsmen to put up substantial scores. Talent wise and fitness wise Sri Lankan fast bowlers are right up there with the best. What they lack is a bit of confidence and that too because of their side's poor batting track record when playing away from home.

Posted by   on (October 3, 2013, 12:25 GMT)

sri lanka should give talented youngsters more exposure, for example, akila dananjaya, tharindu kaushal, sachith pathirana etc. for spin, shehan jayasuriya, dimuth karunaratne, anjelo perera, kithruwan vithanage, niroshan dickwella etc. for batsmen\part-time bowlers, and vimukthi perera, chaturanga kumara, ishan jayaratne, chatura peiris etc. for fast.

Posted by hhillbumper on (October 3, 2013, 11:49 GMT)

I so used to enjoy watching Vaas bowl.He came to Northants and he was such a study in skills and application.Same with Murali. It is very hard to replace two such talents but it does seem that Sri Lanka need to move away from the ODI Fixation.I mean how many times in one years can you play India

Posted by Perera32 on (October 3, 2013, 10:02 GMT)

@Steve Back: Are you seriously going to bring economy rates into this? Ok, Malinga's econ rate was 3.85 in the 30 tests he played. If he had played more Tests, that rate would be much lower. My point is that it's not being a "great" or "decent" player that counts, it's the impact the player has on the game. Lasith used to bowl in the region of 140-150kph back when he played Test cricket before his Knee injury. In the 30 Tests he played he impacted the game more than his record suggests.

No, you didn't mention Anderson but I used him as an example because he is one of the leading Fast bowlers in the world at present.

No, your comparison with Zimbabwe is invalid, H Streak's bowling average was 16 vs Bangladesh but 93 vs SA and 50 vs Aus. Zimbabwe played very few Test vs the top Test teams back then. You expect me to believe Zimbabwe had better fast bowlers than Sri lanka with the example you gave me?, 2 blokes who played less than 10 Tests and another who averages close to 40.

Posted by   on (October 3, 2013, 9:39 GMT)

i would like to see thisara perera too in test matches.it may strong sl batting side

Posted by   on (October 3, 2013, 9:33 GMT)

srilankan Cricket whats doing with lakmal..if malinga not playing test matches,give the chance to lakmal in ODIs too who playing still test cricket..i saw him in tri series in west india.he learn with the time.he is more like english bowler bowling in decent lenth,give him more chance in ODIs..

Posted by RuwanFer on (October 3, 2013, 7:21 GMT)

@Udeepa Indraja Wijeratne Totally agree with u. Although u can argue Kasun is still a rookie and learning his art, it's a mystery to me that Saliya Saman was not been picked even for a SL-A team. Other than he's playing for a poor club of course. Actually even Kasun should have been part of the A team by now. At least they are trying to get Vimukthi Perera in to the national squad which is good.

Posted by C0l0mb0 on (October 3, 2013, 5:06 GMT)

even fast bowlers performed, they have to do wat ever officials and other trainers tells to go into test or one day squads in sri lanka. Actually officials threats players they will lose their place in the team if they didnt do wat ever officials says...

So, who ever wants to play for Sri Lanka just need to do wat officials says... not perform...

Thats the sad but true story of SL cricket.

Posted by 9ST9 on (October 3, 2013, 3:33 GMT)

I don't think the SLC care - as long as their bowlers come up with slower balls and dot bowls, and do well in ODI and T20, and half a dozen players get IPL contracts so that the board gets their cut. They are actually the first cricket board in the world that is trying hard to kill test cricket.

Posted by   on (October 3, 2013, 0:48 GMT)

Please write an article about two bowlers who deserve to be our new fast bowling attack Kasun Madushanka and Saliya Saman.

Posted by   on (October 3, 2013, 0:45 GMT)

Actually all the bowlers u have mentioned here have equally horrible first class records. Our future fast bowers are Kasun Madushanka and Saliya Saman These are the only 2 bowlers to have of about 20 in first class. Its just our selectors does not know how to pick good fast bowlers when they give amazing results in horrible fast bowling tracks. Kasun Madushanka has 72 wickets in 21 games. Saliya Saman 136 wickets in 51 matches. Shaminda Eranga (the best bowler from our international side) has 112 form 50 matches and averages 30. Is it just me or should you focus on writing about the only 2 fast bowlers to make the top 14 instead of ignoring them.

Posted by   on (October 2, 2013, 22:54 GMT)

An alternative view is that spin is Sri Lanka's bowling strength and the strategy should be to stack the bowling attack with spinners while there are insufficient fast bowlers, depending on where they're playing. I would argue that focus should be re-directed towards the ICC and modern cricket which has been conspiring to squeeze spinners out of cricket and that rule changes should protect spinners. If you take the spin out of Sri Lanka you take away one of its greatest strengths and it will become more mediocre.

Posted by   on (October 2, 2013, 22:44 GMT)

Perera32: " How could you say Malinga was not great in Tests?" - Why not? An average of 33 is decent but not "great", and you have to take into account his high economy as well - that is a statistic that cannot be accounted for just by the pitches. If he conceded less runs per over, his average would be considerably better. It's his own fault that this didn't happen. A fine bowler maybe but by no means as good as Vaas, Dev, or Srinath.

And where did I say anything about Anderson being "great"?

Also, I think my comparison with Zimbabwe is valid, considering Streak had a better record than any Sri Lankan bowler bar Muralitharan (or VB John if you count him).

Posted by   on (October 2, 2013, 22:41 GMT)

@metro-ant - if thats the case then 5 teams could be best teams based on players performances. So I mean op 15-20 wicket takers will be spread evenly across the 5 teams. Same will be the case with 15-20 batsman and top 5 wicketkeepers. U mentioned having grade cricket instead of jumping straight to first class. That could work, but that still won't solve the problem of so many firstclass teams. They are better off making this present trophy grade cricket (and shorten it), and the tournament I mentioned will be the first class tournament. But yeah, If a greentop can't be understandably produced, then they are better off having some flat decks. At least fastbowlers will be bowling a lot more overs and developing more control. If possible restrict the use of atleast one venue, so curators have enough time to make it grassy.

Posted by   on (October 2, 2013, 20:05 GMT)

maybe it's time for Malinga to return to Test cricket

Posted by   on (October 2, 2013, 19:23 GMT)

what this article correctly highlights is the lack of basic cricketing structure is affecting SL's ability ti unearth world class pacemen. There are no easy fixes to this as the only way out is to provide cricketers with what is lacking - specifically grounds. However this is a long term strategy. In the short term we should look to mould the current crop of fast bowlers through arranging A tours especially in countries such as ENG AUS SAF, and negotiating with above board's to send our fast bowlers to participate in their first class matches. To do this all that is required is cricket administration's long term vision and finances, both of which are sadly lacking at the moment.

Posted by Metro-ant on (October 2, 2013, 18:45 GMT)

@Naman Gupta That is a very optimistic way of looking at it. In reality however it's not possible because more than 90% of the professional players basically come from the triangle Kandy, Colombo and Galle as well as the surrounding towns to these cities which barely covers the west, south and central provinces. It's more or less unsolvable here because there just simply aren't enough grounds and as was mentioned about half of the 20 teams have a home ground.They could have done like what is done in Australia by having 1-5 grades of cricket per club which benefits the players because they are more likely to get a game even when their skills are still developing whilst also getting the chance to play fast bowlers of older ages at a much younger age, compared to only facing them once you leave school. The more logical option would be to do what they do with English county cricket and have 2 divisions for their first class cricket but make 1st division the only 1st class competition there

Posted by   on (October 2, 2013, 18:41 GMT)

I am a believer that each of Sri Lanka's first class clubs should have different pitches: Some should have the hard, bouncy pacy strips, and some should have soft,spinning wickets. This way, our cricketers will get acclimatized to playing in different pitches. The way it is now, our spin-friendly pitches are used by all, and as a result, Sri Lankans have a hard time in foreign pitches such as in England.

Posted by   on (October 2, 2013, 18:16 GMT)

Don't make it an excuse. I think Zoysa and Malinga were quality in their own right and provided Vaas and the spinners good support. I feel the same about Kulasekra who gets no mention in the article. I remember there was an article on this very site a few years ago about how Sri Lanka's fast bowling stocks have improved and they are relying less on Murali than before, so I would take the arguments in this article with a pinch of salt. If Vaas can do it, so can any other fast bowler with the right amount of skill and temperament. The pitches in Pakistan are dead too, yet they keep on producing quality seamers, because their bowlers make up for the unhelpful conditions with innovation, craft and hard work, exactly what Vaas did. Sri Lankan bowlers should look to get into English County sides and also try to play first class cricket in other countries if it is just a matter of conditions, but I doubt the current crop except Kula is good enough to manage it.

Posted by A_HTIMAN on (October 2, 2013, 17:30 GMT)

@Xolile That sounds Sri Lankan's play spin better than pace

Posted by Perera32 on (October 2, 2013, 16:01 GMT)

@Steve Back: How could you say Malinga was not great in Tests?, He only played 30 Tests picking up 101 wickets (B Av:33) but that's a pretty decent record considering the pitches in Sri Lanka back then suited spinners even more. Fast Bowlers like Nuwan Zoysa also had a Bowling Average of 33. Dilhara Fernando was plagued with Injuries, thus his Bowling average was a high 37. However taking a Bowler like Jimmy Anderson (only as an example), who has a bowling average of 30 playing most of cricket in fast bowler friendly conditions, then Malinga and Zoysa have done pretty well playing in sub continental conditions right? Your Comment about comparing Zimbabwe's bowlers to Sri Lanka's is pretty poor, because Jarvis and Brain have both played less than 10 Tests and the others have played vs weak Test nations. Sri Lanka needs to give bowlers like Eranga, Kulasekara and Perera more chances in Tests.

Posted by   on (October 2, 2013, 15:23 GMT)

Neither Sri Lanka nor India have had a particularly impressive fast bowling history. India at least had Kapil Dev and Javagal Srinath, and the old timers Nissar and Singh. Sri Lanka have had Chaminda Vaas but that's about it - Malinga wasn't that great in Tests. Even Zimbabwe's fast bowling pedigree - Heath Streak, David Brain, Henry Olonga, Jarvis - rivals Sri Lanka's.

Posted by   on (October 2, 2013, 15:06 GMT)

make a first class structure of 6 or 8 teams. Make a new 4 day tournament with every team will play 7 matches each and at least two venue have bouncier surface or anything that support fast bowling.

Posted by   on (October 2, 2013, 12:03 GMT)

one possible solution. Set up another trophy with four teams based on zonal regions: east zone, west zone, north zone, south zone and central zone, kind of like the Duleep trophy in India.The writer said there are 20 first class clubs. So each zone picks their best team from 4 teams with in that region. And performances in this trophy should be the selection criteria for nation. Also make the first class trophy shorter. About pitches wearing out - Unless this trophy is played on a completely new venue, this solution can't be resolved. But what can happen is make the pitches more batter friendly. A fast bowler is more likely to improve on a flat pitch than bowling 3-4 overs on a dust bowl - like Ishant and bhuvi in series against australia.

Posted by BellCurve on (October 2, 2013, 11:48 GMT)

In Test cricket in Sri Lanka, foreign pace bowlers have taken 838 wikcets @ 35.13 and foreign spin bowlers have taken 590 wickets @ 41.59. That suggests conditions in Sri Lanka have generally favoured pace over spin.

Posted by KosalaDeSilva on (October 2, 2013, 10:57 GMT)

Why blaming pitches, Vass used to ball excellent, on those pitches and some of senior players used to say Vass is not good enough as we got so many good new players.Where are they? We never gave him that respect he should have get.

Posted by samp1988 on (October 2, 2013, 10:20 GMT)

SL never had world class fast bowlers other than vass & malinga. really sad situation. No way we can win test series in SA ,AUS and ENG without excellent fast bowling unit. Eranga is spot on with his comments. administrators must take note on his talk. hope vaas will do something.

Posted by Romanticstud on (October 2, 2013, 9:38 GMT)

The problem is that instead of focusing on playing real cricket where all batsman and bowlers can perform, the sub-continent has been producing slow turners to aid their spin department, so when they get off the sub-continent to the more bouncy pitches they have no ammo against the batsman ... even Murali with all his wickets was not an effective bowler in Australia ... an average of 75 ... only Vaas with 300 wickets came close to Murali while he was playing ... now how do you expect fast bowlers to be effective if their pace gets nullified by tennis ball bounce ... easy pickings for a batsman ...

Posted by   on (October 2, 2013, 7:53 GMT)

This article misses the point. Sri Lanka need to play more Test cricke instead of getting involved in meaningless ODI rubbish!

Posted by Nmiduna on (October 2, 2013, 6:54 GMT)

Its a really sad situation andrew..but i guess it's just one of the woes we face as fans and players of this beloved game in sri lanka!

Posted by   on (October 2, 2013, 3:31 GMT)

none of the Asian teams have good fast bowlers now....

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