Chaminda Vaas, the winner at 1996, believes that SL has some ‘”special” cricketers, but that closeness will be vital for Cricket World Cup 2019 success.
Vaas, who played 322 one-day internationals for his country, taking 400 wickets, is now part of the national side’s coaching set-up. He called on the country’s young players to take responsibility this summer, as the new-look side looks to overcome recent struggles in the ODI arena and prove their capabilities at the ICC CWC 2019 in England and Wales.
“Sri Lanka is an unpredictable team,” the 45-year-old told the ICC. “They need to be united, and there are special cricketers who can perform extremely well there in England. If they have the team spirit, unity amongst the team, I think Sri Lanka will do well in the CWC.”
Sri Lanka currently sits No. 8 in the ICC ODI Squad Rankings, and of the 10 teams set to play this summer’s World Cup, only West Indies and Afghanistan are ranked lower. Vaas has taken pleasure in trying to transfer some of his knowledge to the youngsters in the team, as he looks to instill a sense of pride in the players, while also giving fast bowling tips. “I love this game, this is what I did for most of my life,” he said.
“This is something that I can give back for the youngsters. I played for 20 years and enjoyed my game and as a coach, I’m enjoying what I’m doing for the youngsters.
“I tell young fast bowlers, ‘do not take short cuts, give 100%, focus on fitness, focus on endurance stuff and bend your back and bowl. Don’t keep it for the next game, what you can do today, do it. Do it for your country, remember where you come, don’t give excuses, make sure you are humble and when people try to criticize, you take it in the right way.'”
“When we won it and brought the trophy back to Sri Lanka, we realized we had done something of the country and it’s huge.
“After 1999 until now, we have got to finals and semi-finals, and when it comes to important games such as the CWC; our guys have done really well.
“It is now time for young guys to take the initiative to perform well and I’m sure when given the chance they will grab it from both ends and perform well for Sri Lanka.”
Sri Lanka kicks off their CWC campaign against New Zealand on Saturday, 1 June, but before that will first play Scotland in two ODIs, on 18 and 21 May.
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