Keeping fit is my way of life | Sunday Observer

Keeping fit is my way of life

28 February, 2021

Chaminda Vaas is a legendary fast bowler in Sri Lanka’s cricket history. He was the highest wicket taker among fast bowlers.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) appointed him as the fast-bowling coach of the Sri Lanka team for the forthcoming West Indian tour. However, Sri Lanka Cricket announced suddenly that he was resigning from the position as there was disagreement regarding the fee. As the dispute could not be resolved, he resigned from all positions he held at Sri Lanka Cricket.

Before all this, Vaas, 47, had shown that is very fit compared to men of his age. He proved that age is not a barrier for fitness and finished the two-kilometer fitness run conducted by SLC in two minutes and thirty seconds which proved that people can maintain fitness even past their middle age.

The Youth Observer met him to discuss his career. (This interview was conducted before he resigned as the fast-bowling coach).

Q: You proved your fitness level by completing the two-kilometer fitness run within the allotted time. What was the secret behind your strength?

A: There is no secret. I am keen on staying fit. I began my fitness training when I was in my twenties and I used to run long distances. That is why I am fit at my age.

Q: Although you successfully completed the run, some of the younger national cricketers were unable to complete the run within the allotted time frame. Is that the reason as to why your skills have been highlighted?

A: I do not know about that. But this is my skill. I maintain it, as a habit. I think it is a difficult target to achieve at once, for anyone. However, if you train hard, then you can maintain it.

Q: What would you say is the reason behind the news of your successful completion of the race, going viral?

A: I do not know. Normally, I complete a half marathon distance during my fitness training. So, I can finish the two km race faster than most of the others. I believe that to be the reason for my success in that race.

Q: Do you believe that your level of fitness or your skills and abilities is something that you should work on to prove to the rest of the world?

A: No. Why would I have to prove my abilities to the rest of the world? This is my hobby and my lifestyle. Maintenance of my physical fitness is important to me. I have never tried to prove my strength to anyone. The only thing I strive to prove is the thought, ‘Vass you are maintaining your fitness level well’ and I strive to prove that to myself, in my mind. That is all. With regard to your question, I don’t necessarily try to prove anything to others

Q: How did you develop your mind and motivate yourself to maintain this level of fitness?

A: Do you remember Alex Quintero, the masseur of the World Cup winning team in 1996? He is the man who influenced me. Alex taught us how to maintain and take care of our bodies and he also taught me how to maintain my fitness as a fast bowler. That is the main reason as to why I pay so much attention to my fitness and work hard to maintain it.

Q: Have you indirectly tried to prove that your level of fitness is higher than the other cricketers so as to establish the thought “Chaminda Vaas is ideal to represent the country”?

A: (Laughing.) I believe that I am still able to represent my country, regardless of my age. Aside from that, I am always ready to do anything for my country. That is my national responsibility. My national responsibility takes precedence over other things and cricket has been and will always be my bread and butter.

Q: If you were challenged to do so, do you think you would be able to bowl as well as you did during the golden days of your career?

A: Yes, I can still swing well and maintain speed as I bowl. I proved this during the Master’s cricket tournament that was held in India. At the last Master’s tournament, I participated in, for the very first time in my career of playing at the Masters tournament, I got wickets in the first over. Chaminda Vass can do it at any moment. (Laughs again)

Q: Legendary bowler, Dennis Lili once told you that you would not be able to maintain a long-lasting career in the field of cricket. Can you recollect that?

A: Yes. I consider him to be a legend and he told me that I would never become a specialist bowler. He said that I do not have an extraordinary skill as a bowler. However, those words never discouraged me. I continued to try harder than I did during my initial days as a cricketer and I tried hard to prove those words wrong.

Q: Do you remember what he said to you after you successfully proved his words wrong?

A: Yes. He apologised for what he said. He told me that he underestimated me. I told him that it was not his fault and that my progress was due to my hard work. He agreed with me.

Q: You are also an expert in swinging the ball. How did you achieve it?

A: I discussed with top class fast bowlers to learn the art of swinging the ball. But they never revealed the secrets behind their skills straightaway. But after discussing it several times with them I learnt little by little.

Q: What do you think of the younger generation of cricketers in the country? Are you satisfied with their level of skills compared to your era?

A: It is not fair to blame only the cricketers. The whole system must change and the other thing is that the game has changed today and the players play more cricket compared to our era.

Q: Should national cricketers improve their level of fitness?

A: Yes. We must improve our fitness level. The two-kilometre run is not the only test to prove the level of fitness. The players must train hard and be honest to themselves. The SLC management must come up with a good plan, to make Sri Lanka cricket rise again.