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Malinga will stage a comeback soon, says Ratnayake

Handling the heat in UAE the key, Lanka’s fast bowling coach says

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Rumesh Ratnayake
Gulf News

Dubai: Sri Lankan team’s fast bowling coach Rumesh Ratnayake is hopeful of veteran paceman Lasith Malinga returning to form soon.

Though Malinga could not find a place in the upcoming One Day International matches against Pakistan, Ratnayake feels that he may be ready for the Twenty20 matches.

“I am sure he (Malinga) will come into picture when the Twenty20s are around. Once his injuries are through, he is an exceptional bowler and the whole world knows it.”

Ratnayake believes that Malinga has the fighting spirit in him to comeback. “He (Malinga) has shown his grit and guts in the past and I am sure he will work his way through.”

Ratnayake has been working closely with Sri Lanka’s high-performance centre and has been guiding fast-bowling coaches.

He was one of Sri Lanka’s fastest bowlers in the eighties and nineties and has bagged 73 Test and 76 ODI wickets.

Ratnayake is not surprised by the way Pakistan picked five wickets in the last session on the third day as he believes that Pakistan is a squad that can surprise anyone. “They are such good side and unexpected as well. We shouldn’t forget that they are a good bowling side although Mohammad Amir is missing. They bowled exceptionally well in those (last) 15 overs. They certainly did bowl better than us in the last 15 overs on Saturday.”

When asked about the thinking behind not enforcing the follow-on, Ratnayake said: “The reason was that we felt that it was very hot and the bowlers wouldn’t have been able to go through the strenuous heat. We collectively thought that we should bat again.”

Though Sri Lankan spinner Rangana Herath hogged the limelight so far, Ratnayake is happy with the discipline his pacers are showing. His small tips have helped all of them.

“We worked on simple things. We worked on angles, we worked on areas on the fourth and fifth stumps. We had option ‘A’ and option ‘B’. If one thing didn’t work we wanted to get back to the others. I don’t want to elaborate as they are team secrets.”

Ratnayake said that it is important to handle the heat when playing in UAE. “It is very hard to handle the heat, but we managed it. The support staff here managed it quite well. Even though there was an injury to Nuwan (Pradeep), who had stiffness on his hamstring, the support staff and skipper took care of him well and nobody noticed it.”