Dilanka Mannakkara, in Daily News, 2 May 2011
He was once nick named as one of the greatest left armers of the game Chaminda Vass’ predecessor. To be given such an honour Uda Walawwe Mahim Bandaralage Chanaka Asanga Welegedara better known as Chanaka Welagedara must have possessed something special other than his long name which resembles him to Chaminda Vaas who has the longest name in test cricket. Indeed ”Wele” as he is fondly known has a deadly banana in swinger to the right handers and has also developed an out swinger and has more pace than the master himself.He showed a lot of promise in his early days but a problem with his run up and rhythm put him out of the limelight for quite some time but he with the help of fast bowling coach Anusha Samaranayake has come out of his shell and performed splendidly over the past few months. The selectors have rewarded him with a place in the squad for theEnglandtest series and Wele with his swinging capabilities would be deadly on English pitches. I spoke to him and here are some excerpts of the interview.
Q – You are back with the Lankan team after bowling well in the Provincial league as well as the Premier League..Your thoughts on the opportunity that is presented to you?
A -Well,I am obviously very happy and I think that my bowling style will suit me a lot more inEngland where the conditions and the pitches will assist me. I bowled well in the Provincial one day series and was the best bowler of the tournament and in the Premier League. I have been shaping up pretty well and I hope to perform very well and also get selected for the One Day team. I am waiting to have a go at the English batsmen.
Q – Can you talk about your experience playing inEngland?
A – I toured with theSri Lanka A team in 2007 toEngland and took 15 wickets in three first class matches. So I have some experience in bowling in English conditions and I have been successful so far and hope to do my best.
Q – Your last test was againstIndia in 2010 where you played in P Sara stadium but couldn’t make much of an impact and you were dropped from theWest Indies series.
A – I couldn’t take many wickets in that match againstIndia and we lost that match as well. Only Suraj Randiv took 9 wickets in the match and Malinga with his slinging action also was amongst the wickets. The conditions didn’t suit me much and I wasn’t in the best of form.
TheWest Indies series was unfortunate. I performed very well in the practice game and took three wickets of Gayle and the Bravo brothers. Three catches of my bowling was dropped and I lost the opportunity of taking 6 wickets in that innings and it was unfortunate.
Q – Your best performance came inIndia where you took the wickets of Sehwag,Gambhir,Sachin and Dravid. You must have been over the moon with that stunning performance.
A – Yes,I was so happy. No words to express the feeling……..Those four batsmen are amongst the best and I beat them with my swing and I would not forget that match ever. I was a last minute replacement for Thushara Mirando in that match and only in the morning I knew that I was going to play the match and I bowled the first over and things worked out brilliantly.
Q – There were rumours that you had a lot of problems with your run up,a no ball problem and you don’t have a lot of rhythm in bowling. Your thoughts?
A – Well,when a player gets dropped people come up with different lame excuses. I had a problem with my run up in 2007 but not having rhythm in bowling is not true. I have developed as a bowler and with the help of Anusha Samaranayake who was instrumental in fine tuning me,I have improved a lot. I am a left armer so I have an advantage over other right arm bowlers as well.
Q – You possess a deadly in swinger and have you developed an out swinger as well? What new tricks do you have in store for the English batsmen?
A – Yes, I have developed an out swinger as well and I will be using it against the English batsmen. New tricks,well yes,I possess a well disguised slower ball which is very useful especially in ODIs. The seam remains the same so the batsmen often get deceived.
Q – How familiar are you with the Duke ball which will be using inEngland?
A – We are using the Duke ball for practices inSri Lanka and the ball swings and seams a lot more than the Kookabura. It can generate reverse swing after 20 overs and the dew and moisture on the pitch wont easily absorb to it which is an advantage.