'I don't want to compare myself with anyone' - Kulasekara
Nuwan Kulasekara has attributed his rise to the elite of international cricket's one-day bowlers to to his perseverance and hard work over the past year. Only five points separate Kulasekara from Daniel Vettori on the ICC's official rankings of ODI bowlers, and the Sri Lankan medium-pacer said he was just glad to be able to contribute to the team's cause.
Kulasekara has climbed to No. 2 in the ICC rankings for ODI bowlers after an impressive run of performances since his return to the team in April 2008. In that period, he has taken 45 wickets at an average of 20.97, including five wickets in the last two ODIs of the series against Pakistan, where he wrecked the top order to help his team win both the games by sizeable margins.
"In the last 12 months or so I have performed very well taking wickets consistently in one-day cricket. That is the reason why I was able to come up in the rankings," Kulasekara said.
The 26-year-old has improved so much that his captain had the confidence to make him the spearhead of the fast-bowling attack on occasions when veteran Chaminda Vaas was left out of the side. Kulasekara did not fail in the challenges that was thrown at him, and kept on improving.
Explaining his success as a new-ball bowler Kulasekara said: "Bowling with the new ball I am able to get my natural inswing going. It is very effective when I pitch it on a good line and length. That's how I obtain the majority of my wickets."
To add to his swing Kulasekara has also developed a slower ball and learnt to vary his deliveries. He admitted that he had also increased his arm speed which has enabled the ball to skid on to the batsmen at a much quicker pace than what he was bowling at the beginning of his career.
Kulasekara worked with Sri Lanka fastbowling coaches Champaka Ramanayake and Anusha Samaranayake and continues to do so with team head coach Trevor Bayliss and his assistant Paul Farbrace. "They have taught me the basics and brought new ideas on how to bowl a slow ball, how to vary balls and study batsmen," said Kulasekara.
"I don't want to compare myself with anyone. I try to do bowl to my strengths depending on the state of the match. My deliveries vary from batsmen to batsmen. My role in the team is to get early breakthroughs with the new ball. I have been successful so far in doing that. I want to assist the team to win matches and be an important member of it. I hope to be a part of the 2011 World Cup side."