Chaminda Vaas, Sri Lanka's former pace great, feels the ICC should give enough time for international cricketers to get back into groove before competitive cricket resumes after the coronavirus crisis. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Chaminda Vaas, Sri Lanka’s finest left-arm pacer, hopes that the International Cricket Council (ICC) provides enough time for all players around the world to get ready for intense cricket once the COVID-19 crisis is over.

Responding to Gulf News on Zoom during the Desert Cubs Cricket Academy’s interactive session to a question on whether pacers around the world would be as strong and effective after the long lay-off from cricket, Vaas said: “The ICC should give leeway for all cricketers to practice and get ready for cricket after the Covid-19 crisis subsides. After being away from cricket for more than a month and a half without intense practice, it can be tough for everyone. Everyone should be provided enough time to train before the start of all cricket activities. I understand countries like Australia have started indoor practice sessions.”

Vaas, who bagged 355 Test wickets and 400 wickets in One Day Internationals with his accurate sizzling deliveries, also shared some insights on what went through his mind when running up to bowl to greats like Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar. “When you run up to bowl to batsmen like Lara and Tendulkar, you know that they won’t give you much of a chance. Their margin of error is minimal. As a bowler, I got wickets by bowling in the right areas all the time to them. I knew that I had six chances in an over to get them while they get only one chance if they make a mistake. So I bowled at those areas where they could make a mistake.”

Vaas addressed over 100 children and coaches of the Desert Cubs academy and told them that to be a good pacer, they need to have a good heart. “You should have a good heart to serve your team. You need to help each other. Sometimes you have to contain the batsman and there are times you need to live up to what the captain wants from you, “ he said, stressing on the importance of partnership in bowling.

Chaminda Vaas (centre) had a short stint in the IPL in the closing stages of his career. Image Credit: IPL

“Many believe that partnerships are needed only for batting, but bowling too needs it. If you don’t get wickets, bowl dot balls and maiden overs so that the other end bowler can take wickets. Cricket is a team game. Many times, I got wickets when Muralitharan bowled maidens and vice versa. Ultimately the team should benefit and that makes you a good bowler.”

Vaas asked the budding cricketers not to get disturbed over not getting wickets. “When you are 12 or 13 years old, you should not be worried about how many wickets you get. You should enjoy the game. I strongly believe in enjoying the game. Sri Lanka won the World Cup in 1996 because we enjoyed playing together. We won the final as my seniors ensured that we do not play with the pressure to win. In fact, hours before the match, many of us were shopping and buying carpets in Lahore. We went and played the final like any other match and that’s how we won it.”

Presley Polonnowita, the Head Coach of the Desert Cubs who played alongside Vaas in school cricket, said: “Vaas believed in discipline, devotion and determination from a very young age. We hope everyone follows his advice. Our interactive sessions are reaching out to not only hundreds in UAE but over 600 kids from India, Australia, and Sri Lanka too.

‘‘We have encouraged the kids to follow our fitness and skill training sessions online and thus steered them away from electronic gadgets. We are thankful not only to Vaas but to all the legends who have been giving their valuable time to share some tips with the youngsters.”