Chameera most exciting bowler since Malinga

Sri Lankan cricketer Dushmantha Chameera (R) celebrates the dismissal of Pakistan cricketer Zulfiqar Babar during the opening day of the second Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the P. Sara Oval Cricket Stadium in Colombo on June 25, 2015.  Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq won the toss and elected to bat in the second Test against Sri Lanka at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo. AFP PHOTO / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI        (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Sri Lanka’s fast-bowling coach Champaka Ramanayake has said that 23-year-old Dushmantha Chameera is the most exciting fast-bowling find he had come across since Lasith Malinga.

Ramanayake, a former Sri Lanka seamer with 18 Test caps, was responsible for the emergence of Malinga, and he believes Chameera has the same raw material in him.

“Chameera is the equivalent of Malinga at the start of his career, pace wise, but not skill wise which he has to develop,” Ramanayake said. “Malinga bowled with a lot of confidence and had raw pace and he had an unusual bowling action.

“Chameera has got pace which was lacking in our bowling line-up. It is good to have a bowler who can hit speeds of nearly 150 kmph consistently in your team. He has to work on his skill levels and he needs strengthening for sustainability.”

Chameera went off the field for treatment in his second over during Pakistan’s second innings in Colombo, but returned afterwards to bowl with a lot of pace and picked up three wickets. He unsettled the Pakistani batsmen and broke the wrist of Wahab Riaz, who was subsequently ruled out of the Test series.

“I am very proud of his attitude that even with a side strain he continued to bowl. Pain is something every fast bowler has to carry with them throughout their careers,” Ramanayake said.

Ramanayake said that he got to know Chameera better when he was working with the Sri Lanka A team during the home series against Pakistan A.

“Working with the A team, there is a lot of time to condition the bowlers better. Chameera along with the other fast bowlers underwent similar training as the seniors. It was enjoyable working with the youngsters.”

Ramanayake said the arrival of Michael Main, the new trainer from England, was helping the bowlers get fitter and stronger. “Conditioning is very important. We are doing a special program on fitness and strengthening for all our fast bowlers, it’s a six-month course,” Ramanayake said. “With the climate and weather we have here it’s tough on the fast bowlers, you can’t bowl them in long spells. Sri Lanka must be the toughest place in the world for fast bowlers. Unlike in countries like England, New Zealand and Australia where the conditions and pitches are suitable for fast bowling, it’s a challenge in Asian countries.”

Dhammika Prasad, who was named Man of the Match for his seven wickets in Sri Lanka’s win against Pakistan in the second Test, has overcome fitness and injury problems which had held back his progress in the past.

Ramanayake said that Prasad’s role in the senior team was to give confidence to the bowlers and work on their mental side. “Dhammika had a bowling fitness issue and when he was in the Sri Lanka ‘A’ team last year we treated him as a special case. We conditioned him and he was asked to bowl spells for a day as in a match situation. It’s a mental thing as well. Bowlers can have a bad spell or a bad day but unlike batsmen they can always come back.” (Courtesy ESPN Cricinfo)