Dubai: Former Sri Lanka pacer Chaminda Vaas inspired youngsters from the UAE’s Desert Cubs Cricket Academy with valuable tips on adapting their performances to the green-topped pitches of Australia.
The left-armer, who was known for his ability to swing the ball in all conditions and trap batsmen with his variety of deliveries, mixed freely with the youngsters during training sessions and matches.
Answering queries from the youngsters who were training at the Queensland High Performance Centre in Brisbane, Vaas said: “To become a good fast bowler, you need to be super fit. Bowling and getting wickets is easy, but to keep on getting wickets one has to travel the extra mile in gaining fitness.”
“Always remember that good batsmen’s wickets will not come easily and it is possible only by sticking to the basics and trying to bowl at your best.”
Persley Polonowitta, who is head coach of the Desert Cubs Academy, said: “Vaas and I had played together in Sri Lanka in first class matches and also trained at the MRF Pace Foundation under Australian pace legend Dennis Lillee and T.A. Sekar during our playing days, hence he readily agreed to help the touring boys.
“We took the boys to the famous Gabba stadium, which has the fastest wicket in the world, and played on grounds that had fast and bouncy wickets. We not only played Twenty20 matches but also 40 and 50-over matches.”
Another former Sri Lanka Test star, Thilan Samaraweera, and promising Australian pacer Peter George also gave tips to the boys.
Teams from Desert Cubs Academy have previously toured the United Kingdom, South Africa, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Oman and Qatar, but it is the first tour to Australia for the club.
The star of the tour was under-13 player Saneen Latiff, who hit a century in a 50-over game. The Our Own English High School, Sharjah, pupil was thrilled to have come up with a century overseas.
Another outstanding performer was under-11 player Arnav Kambli, who hit 148 runs and took eight wickets, including a deadly spell of three overs, two maidens, four runs and three wickets. He took five medals to share the honour of best batsman with Hardik Pai.
Harishanker Radhakrishna and Ayaan Sachin Khan were the best bowler and player of the tour respectively in the under-11 category.
Shoun Roger was the player of the tour in the under-13 category, scoring 239 runs including three half-centuries and taking seven wickets. It was his third consecutive best performer award having also earned the honour on tours to England and Sri Lanka.
Joshan Thamburaj was the best bowler in under-13 category.
The top performers among the under-15s were Macneel Noronha (best batsman), Owais Sajid (best bowler) and Neel Lobo (player of the tour). In the under-18s, Kirk Vedhasinghe was the best batsman, Ashintha Silva was best bowler and Waruna Perera the player of the tour.
The tour was sponsored by Dubai Duty Free, Matco Packing and Mega Gulf Transport LLC.