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Emerging pacers lack killer instinct - Vaas

Sa'adi Thawfeeq

October 6, 2013

Comments: 22 | Text size: A | A

Chaminda Vaas in his final Test, Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 3rd Test, 1st day, Colombo, July 20, 2009
Chaminda Vaas: "Only a few of them are keen others don't even want to watch a match to at least analyse their performance what their mistakes are" © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Sri Lanka's fast bowling coach Chaminda Vaas has criticised the emerging group of seamers in the country's pace academy for being "soft" and wanting in drive for self-improvement.

Having begun his coaching term in February, Vaas, said the bowlers coming through had a long way to go before they can compete at an international standard.

"They don't know how to plan their future," Vaas said of Sri Lanka's young bowlers. "Those days when we bowled at the nets we learned something from each net session. We asked the batsman if there was anything wrong with our bowling or if we had made any mistakes, in order to improve our skills.

"But nowadays fast bowlers don't ask such questions. Either they are afraid to ask, or they are soft or their thinking pattern is different. So we have to keep telling them all the time what to do. It will take a long time for them to learn, but the only way to do it is by pushing them because they are not pushing themselves on their own."

Vaas had also worked with the New Zealand fast bowling unit on their tour of Sri Lanka last year, and suggested foreign bowlers had a greater aptitude for fast bowling strategy than Sri Lanka's young bowlers.

"The problem is they don't want learn," he said. "Only a few of them are keen others don't even want to watch a match to at least analyse their performance what their mistakes are. They've got to think like professionals. Bowlers from other countries know exactly what to do. You don't have to push them. That's what we have to learn from them and instill in our fast bowlers."

Sri Lanka's notoriously unsporting surfaces have been the bane of fast bowlers for years, but Vaas took a dim view of blaming pitches for seam bowlers' poor returns in domestic matches, and instead prescribed consistency in line and length, and self-confidence as a route to success.

"What I have advised these youngsters is being fast bowlers they should be prepared to bowl on any kind of surface. Whether it's a wicket suiting spin or batting, they have to bend their backs and bowl. At all the sessions I've been talking to them and training their mind as well as their fitness. The guys are a bit soft - some don't have the fast bowler's killer instinct."

However, Vaas identified Vishwa Fernando, Kanishka Alvitigala, Kasun Rajitha and Rukmal Fernando as a "few guys who have been identified as future fast bowlers" among the group currently training at the academy.

"We have about 10 good fast bowlers from a squad of 20," he said. It will take at least another three years for them to get into the side."

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Posted by CricketChat on (October 7, 2013, 16:04 GMT)

Vaas and Murali are self made champions, hence , it is quite understandable how they feel about new comers, most of whom are from well to do families and see practice as a right of passage to higher honors without really earning it.

Posted by buncers on (October 7, 2013, 14:48 GMT)

I have never seen a Sri Lankan bowl with more heart that Tissara. He seems to give his all when he bowls. That is why the T20 skippers quite often throw him the ball in death overs (doesn't always work).

He does have a technique and consistency issue. Vaas should take him under his wing. He could become a great test all-rounder (Botham style) - we know what he can do with the bat.

Aussie, India and England would have honed that raw talent by now - much better that SL.

Posted by RuwanFer on (October 7, 2013, 13:28 GMT)

@MaruthuDelft After seeing ur 1st comment I was thinking about clarifying it more because it was aligned with my opinion somewhat. But ur 2nd comment is hopeless.

Yes, I agree that Sanga and Vaas are probably the two most professional sportsmen (not just cricketers) SL ever had. And they made the most out of the talent they have got. But that's about it. It doesn't make those two complete and the rest of the immensely talented cricketers incomplete.

As someone mentioned you can never find perfect/complete cricketers (or any professional for that matter). Sanga and Vaas also have/had so many weaknesses. For example Vaas was mediocre on hard non-seaming conditions where he can't rely on his leg-cutters, slow balls and stuff. So how can u call him a complete cricketer/bowler then?

I think you may have wanted to emphasize their professionalism over others but you just lost it somewhere lol.

On the subject in general I agree with Vaasy.

Posted by   on (October 7, 2013, 13:15 GMT)

@MaruthuDelft, you cannot be more wrong. Vaas had a great career, but even he will laugh at being called 'complete' and Murali 'incomplete'. Murali's action is 100% acceptable as the rule-makers (not us) have declared several times based on objective scientific evidence. He is the highest wicket taker in the history of the game. He is as close to 'complete' as they come. Murali is the only cricketer from Lanka who will be recognised as a 'legend', although Sanga is getting quite close too.

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (October 7, 2013, 9:27 GMT)

@Harmony111, @ Kasun Arunoda Pathirana,

In the1996 WC I would rank Vaas's contribution higher than Sanaths. In the 2011 WC I would rank Zaheer's contribution higher than anyone else's. Murali was incomplete because his action was not acceptable to all. Sanath incomplete because he was just another Sehwag. They wer admired but never got the nod from discerning followers. Aravinda was a sitting duck against leg spin; at best he was ugly against spin; Malinga was never world class because he didn't prove it in tests.

But what I intend to say is don't disturb Vaas. He knows what to do. If he is allowed a free hand he will bring out a couple of good pacemen quickly. Vaas is a rare deeply intelligent character. Despite his inadequate physique he became a world class fast bowler because of his intelligence. Please let him apply that for Sri Lanka cricket's good.

Posted by   on (October 7, 2013, 8:57 GMT)

@maruthu - mate no cricketor is ever complete. Sachin has an ordinary record in 4th innings in tests, warne did poorly in India, sehwag is ordinary in England and SA, Dravid has an ordinary record against SA and Aus, ponting did ordinary in india. Perhaps the only perfect cricketer, has harmony pointed out, is Bradman, who played what 70-80 years ago. Likes of mahela and murali are amazing to watch. murali bowls both offspin and leg spin well. Regarding killer instinct, maybe ask these bowlers to self-assess themselves, or question them on how they are going to ball to each batsman ahead of every match. Someone like clarke would be asked to present his opinion to rest of team when he started off young. Let them express themselves. As one correctly pointed out, it isn't something u can teach, but developed when they are on their own.

Posted by Harmony111 on (October 7, 2013, 8:26 GMT)


I am an Indian but I find your comment about SL players quite a bad one. Is Malinga not world class? He plays ONLY in T20s & ODIs now so where is the question of him playing Tests? In T20s & ODIs he is quite awesome, check the recent CT13 SL-NZ match for proof. Any team would love to have him.

Murali, Sanath, Aravainda are incomplete cricketers? Surely they are not perfect ones and had their own weakness but no one is perfect. More than Vass & Sanga, these incomplete players led SL to their WC win in 96 so the can't be that bad.

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (October 7, 2013, 6:28 GMT)

Few weeks back, some SL fans argued that Tisara is the best bowler in the world and hes better than Steyn. Now, they got reply from own legend about the class of their bowlers!

Posted by   on (October 7, 2013, 5:56 GMT)

@MaruthuDelft - No disrespect, but from the moment you call Sanath and Murali incomplete cricketers, you are loosing me from there mate. Sorry. More learning and reading is in order.

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (October 7, 2013, 5:25 GMT)

@ Kasun Arunoda Pathirana, is Kula world class? I think even Malinga is not a world class paceman; sure he is good at T20s and ODIs but that alone is not good enough to make him world class bowler. We had only 2 convincingly world class cricketers in Sri Lanka cricket history so far; Vass and Sanga. Murali, Sanath, Aravinda...all are incomplete cricketers.

No method fits all the circumstances. For those who try hard you would want the coach to make them confident. For the lazy ones the coach will be expected to be a whipper. Vaas has to be a whipper for now.

Posted by   on (October 7, 2013, 4:57 GMT)

killer_z - Completely wrong mate. Don't look to India, just look at Sri Lanka in early 90s. When Dav came, we were a bunch of insanely talented cricketers, but what Dav did was embed that killer instinct into the team. That is what you mean by professionalism. The urge to do great at the highest level. Talent can never be coached. What can be coached is that professionalism. Kula was just a bowler bowling in DIV III for nugegoda CC when Champaka found him. Just take a look at him now. This is not about bowler Champaka or Vass, this is about the coach. It is a totally different job. It is not about leading from the front, it is about leading from the back. Add to that very few coaches in world cricket are great players. India is still an ordinary bowling side, but Dhoni and Gary gave them that killer instinct. Like what Arjuna and Dav did in 90's. That is what we need and the captains and the leaders are there for that job.

Posted by balajik1968 on (October 7, 2013, 1:14 GMT)

What Vaas is saying is that the bowlers do not want to help themselves. Killer instinct can never be taught. Respect to Vaas.

Posted by PadMarley on (October 7, 2013, 0:47 GMT)

Is this a problem with the new generation in general of course with few exceptions?? Spoon fed since childhood!! perhaps!. More than anything you need to have passion, and then hard working that drives you towards that. If you dont have it, no coach can drive you towards it!! Just get the hell out of cricket, and give the chance to someone else, perhaps find a job in a bank or something!! I remember in an interview I saw on youtube, Lilllee says, THERE NO ALTERNATIVE FOR BLOODY HARD WORK!!

Posted by Gowza on (October 6, 2013, 22:34 GMT)

pretty tough to teach killer instinct, in fact it's tough to teach anything if the players don't want to learn and aren't self-motivated, Bangladesh have had the same problem.

Posted by   on (October 6, 2013, 20:17 GMT)

Vaas was a legend should have played on for another year or so atleast in ODI cricket

Posted by killer_z on (October 6, 2013, 20:15 GMT)

Mr.Kasun Pathirana..... killer instinct can't be coached. U got it or u don't. For an example take the quicks that's comming from india... they all got it. Limited talent...bowles in 130 kmph but gets the job done.... whom do we have ?? Just Kula and Malinga.... who else ? Tell me. No one worth mentioning. The guys don't have the guts to go up against the best in the world. Vaas had that. Wirh limited talent and plenty hard work he got the job done. So don't even compare champaka to Vaas buddy. I'm even glad he said it out in the open.. atleast youngsters who got the balls will now know what's needed to compete at the highest level!

Posted by KingOwl on (October 6, 2013, 18:02 GMT)

Kasun Pathirana: You can't teach people to get a killer instinct. Your instinct is what you have. You either have it or you don't. At the highest level, players have to be self motivated. If you don't want to be the best, then nobody can push you to come even close. Having said that, I am not sure that talking to the media is the right way to go about things.

Posted by ARad on (October 6, 2013, 17:58 GMT)

Hear, hear! I hope the SL youngsters would take these comments as a challenge rather than get offended and use it to motivate themselves.

Posted by   on (October 6, 2013, 15:47 GMT)

This is a ridiculous claim. Vass is there to teach them that killer instinct. If the youngsters have it all, what is he paid for? He is there to season them into becoming world class bowlers. If he does not believe in his pack how can he make them into match winners? Champaka never complained to media like this, but he brought world class fast bowlers like Malinga and Kula into the team. May be Vass needs to talk to good coaches and learn a thing or two about coaching. If all of them are like him, we would not need a coach. These boys needs guidance. For that they need a man who gives them confidence, not a man who accuses them in the media.

Posted by android_user on (October 6, 2013, 14:57 GMT)

Simply the results of too much of 20-20 much more to come. ..... feel sorry for the game and true cricket fans

Posted by Tal_Botvinnik on (October 6, 2013, 14:47 GMT)

Why can't they give them a chance at the international stage instead of ruining them on spinning tracks. McDermott once said that young pacers should be given early debuts before there pace drops.

The problem is lack of understanding and the misuse of them.

Posted by calcu on (October 6, 2013, 13:58 GMT)

Completely agree with vaas

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