26 August 1998
My School Sport: Aravinda de Silva
Interview by Geoffrey Dean
Where did you go to school?
DS Senanayake College, Colombo.
Did you enjoy your schooldays?
Those were the best days as I enjoyed them as much as my cricketing ones. I had no responsibilities to worry about.
Who were your cricketing heroes?
Viv Richards. It was his approach to the game and the way that he played that I really loved. I played against him and had the privilege of getting him out in the Reliance World Cup in 1987 when I also had the privilege of seeing many balls that he hit flying over my head at long-on. I also used to enjoy watching Gordon Greenidge and Greg Chappell.
What other sports did you play at school?
Athletics, table tennis, snooker, tennis and squash. I played tennis at club level and won a few tournaments, as well as taking part in a national snooker tournament. Most of all, I enjoyed motor racing, but my father wouldn't let me take part.
Is school cricket flourishing in Sri Lanka?
The standard is pretty high, but they need to get more youngsters involved. They must maintain the interest in the game which is so popular after we won the World Cup.
Did you always want to be a professional cricketer?
Yes, definitely. I had to decide at a certain age between doing A Levels and playing cricket. My father wanted me to concentrate on cricket, and I was actually out of the country for my A Levels. I was in Australia in 1983 and then in England in 1984.
What were your favourite subjects?
Mathematics was the only one I really liked, although I enjoyed English as well.
How did your career progress?
It was a gradual process. Since 1983, I've been picked to go on every Sri Lankan tour. I tried to get maximum use and experience out of every opportunity I had touring.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to make a career out of sport?
The only thing they have to realise is that there's no easy way other than to work really hard. If you reach the top, maintaining it is harder, but the benefits are great if you can do that. There are many sacrifices - having to stay away from your family on tour, and there are hardships while training.
Source :: Electronic Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk)