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Will Kumar Sangakkara create an impact on Sri Lanka’s pace bowling attack?


During Arjuna Ranatunga’s tenure as captain fast bowling took a back seat and the primary job of an opening bowler was to wear off the new ball without conceding too many runs.

The match only began for the Sri Lankans after 15th Over. Until such time containment was the order of the day.

Champaka Ramanayake, Pramodya Wickremasinghe, and Dulip Liyanage – among others who came and went – were all mere passengers.

Deep Gullies, a lone Slip – if you were lucky, and everyone else placed on the edge of the 30 yard circle was the norm when Sri Lanka’s pace bowlers were on.

For years the Anwars and the Laras feasted on the hapless medium pacers who were asked to bowl a steady line and length and to forget pace.

Under Mahela Jayawardene Sri Lanka’s fast bowling took a dramatic turn. We saw the rise of Malinga, Kulasekara, Maharoof, Thushara, Fernando, and Prasad. The Fast bowlers played more of a role.

Sri Lankan pace-men were given the responsibility and the ability to contribute their ideas towards the game plan. Attacking fields were set; The self belief and confidence which comes with being given the responsibility to do the job, bore fruit.

Lasith Malinga set a new world record dismissing four batsman in four consecutive deliveries. Nuwan kulasekara is now the number one ranked bowler in the ICC ODI rankings.

The Sri Lankan pace-men have contributed prominently in recent times because they were given that opportunity to do so.

How will Sri Lanka’s pace attack progress under Kumar Sangakkara?

Even though the administration pulls Sri Lanka Cricket down it is important that the players keep taking Sri Lanka forward. It is crucial for Sangakkara to identify the success under Mahela Jayawardene and look to develop on them.

Mitchell Johnson of Australia – talking to Mark Nicholas at the end of the 3rd Test match in Cape Town – mentioned that he had been running in hard all day and hitting the deck hard.

"It was important that I kept running in hard and kept hitting the deck hard," I heard Mitchell say. Strangely Sri Lanka adopts a strategy which is completely the opposite.

A Sri Lankan fast bowler is asked to forget about bowling fast and concentrate on their line and length, this negativity needs to be discarded immediately. The mentality of Sri Lankan coaches need tweaking as well. A fast bowler must bolt to the crease, leap, and hit the deck hard in order to be effective consistently. Control in line and length should be worked out in the nets.

Bowling 10 overs a day and hitting good lines in the nets must be introduced as part of a bowler’s daily fitness routine. Greater control of Line and Length can be achieved by regular practise.

Kumar Sangakkara is a great thinker of the game; He however won’t ponder on a solution if he never identifies the problem.

10 Comments

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  1. How very true. This article
    How very true. This article is correct. Most of our fast bowlers lack aggression.

    I want to see what Suranga Lakmal is like too.

  2. The best combination of pace
    The best combination of pace and spin from the sub-continent at the moment is India. Zaheer bowls anything between 135-140 Ks, moves n reverses, takes wickets. Sharma bowls, 140-145 K, moves, works on line n length, takes wickets. Munaf hits 135-140 K, focuses on line n length, takes wickets. Then comes Hari-bung Singh and the second spinner. SL compared; One has to be least 140Ks consistently if to be a striker. With all due respect, retire Vasy and make him the bowling coach. The rest have to hit 138-140 least, move the ball, learn reverse and above all keep fit max. We have an excellent pool of speedies there, a minimum of 10 who are easily among the top 50-75 in the world. Sanga will do a good job with them I think.

  3. Absolutely agree with you on
    Absolutely agree with you on this Ryan.

    Nuwan Zoysa is a prime example. Good height to get bounce but never delivered.

    Walsh and Ambrose were taller than Nuwan. When I went through some old footage I noticed it took Walsh half the time to reach the crease in his run up than Zoysa who had a shorter run up.

    Point is Nuwan would amble – no wobble – terrible run up to the crease.  When he got to the crease he had lost all momentum.

    That was causing him back problems because the effort needed to deliver the ball required more strain on his shoulders and lower back – he lost pace because he lost all the momentum in his run up. And was trying to play catch up at the point of release.

    Zoysa played Club cricket too for years, nobody bothered with this.

    Ask Dilhara Fernando go out and bowl fast – forget everything – just bowl fast and make the batsman smell leather. That probably will turn his career around.

  4. With all due respect i dont think any pace bowler today can just steam in and bowl flat out – pitches are far too batsmen friendly; while some grounds across the world are just to small. You need guile – Yes good healthy pace will help but most important in my opinion (i may be wrong) is cricketing intelligence and agression. Sadly Dilhara does not seem to have either – or else he is not wound up sufficiently. The problem as i see it is that Sri Lankan cricketers want to be “nice” and the fastmen sometimes forget that they are playing to bowl hard and fast and intimidate.

    See Dale Steyns phillosphy – run in hard; bowl fast; scare a few batsmen! but that requires pace, skill or control and agression.

    A good mantra for a fast man

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