Could Vinuda be the next Vaas? | Sunday Observer

Could Vinuda be the next Vaas?

29 March, 2020
Vinuda Liyanage  (Picture: The papare)
Vinuda Liyanage (Picture: The papare)

The tall lanky left-armer Vinuda Liyanage had initially been a slow spin bowler although such a height gives pacemen an advantage and it was really the team situation that demanded and prompted him to venture into speed bowling.

The instruction had come from his school’s head coach, Roger Wijesuriya and ever since switching from spin to speed, he has been among the wicket takers despite not being the lead bowler for St. Peter’s College.

Then came the match that mattered the most in the form of a Big Match and the Peterites entered the big occasion as underdogs to be outplayed more or less for the entirety of the proceedings and virtually ended with the same tag.

But one of the two silver lines of the grey cloud was the manner in which Vinuda, the only bowler armed with a hat-trick this season, made an unaided case to save the game and retain the trophy against traditional foe St. Joseph’s College.

It was Vinuda and the ninth-wicket pair that thwarted their counterparts from a possible victory.

“It actually gave me a lot of confidence, when it comes to fast bowling. It’s not really about the hat-trick. Because if I didn’t change myself to fast bowling, I don’t even know where I would be,” Vinuda told the Sunday Observer. 

Asked as to what was his plan to complete the three-in-three, he divulged: “I just thought I’ll make sure that I’ll achieve the hat-trick and thought of bowling wicket-to-wicket.”

His spell of four for 56, earned him the best bowler award at the big match. He was also involved in a run-out, dismissing spinner Ashian Daniel, the destroyer-in-chief, when St. Peter’s batted in the first essay.

After their batters had scraped through and posted 224, it was in the hands of the 17-year-old and his team to contain the Joes batting line-up, that was studded with Sri Lanka Under 19 players and batsmen with over 1000-runs.

“Yeah, I was a bit nervous when the captain gave me the ball, but I just thought that I’ll stick to the basics and it worked for me,” Vinuda recounted of his thought process during his opening spells.  

“Actually, I’m really happy with my bowling performance on that big occasion,” said Vinuda after eclipsing his counterpart bowler, Dunith Wellalage. 

Talking of his team’s performance, he reflected that the Peterites produced a good fight.

“Each and every one contributed towards the match and there were some mistakes too, but at the end of the day we managed to overcome them,” he recalled.

Walking this reporter through how it all unfolded, he explained that after putting up a good first innings score, they set out to bowl with a positive and strong mind-set and believed in one another with a plan for each Joes batter which Vinuda said worked according to the plan.

The plan had put them on top with the Joes restricted to 42 for 4 wickets at one stage.

“We knew we could get more wickets at that time but unfortunately fielding mistakes had cost us that moment.

“Dineth Jayakody was dropped when he was eight runs. If we had grabbed that chance it would have been a different story sometimes. We could have enforced the follow-on. Cricket is a team game and we should all take the blame but nevertheless at the end of the second and the final day we were on top,” Vinuda elaborated.

The encounter’s only centurion, Dineth, turned out to be a thorn in his opponents’ flesh with a crucial knock.  “In the beginning, I was on top but with time Dineth Jayakody was a bit difficult to bowl to,” admitted Vinuda.

Vinuda, idolising and adulating former Sri Lanka bowler Chaminda Vaas, a fellow left-armer from the opposite camp, is now looking ahead at his foreseeable future determined to do his best for his team with bat and ball.