Wasim and I – The Two Most Aggressive Cricketers on Earth


Aggressive Wasim Akram

Aggressive Wasim Akram

These are two angry men in the cricket field. First one is the legendary Pakistani cricketer Wasim Akram who ripped through the opposition batting line with his destructive reverse swing bowling attack, displayed unbelievable fielding talents by holding onto spectacular catches and went on to power hitting down the order while batting on his day. (Not to mention that epic 257 test runs not out from 363 balls against Zimbabwe at Sheikhupura in 1996.) Wasim was the most aggressive cricketer on the field I have seen in my entire life. Not even Saleem Malik, who was both fortunate and unfortunate enough to be Wasim´s captain during most of his career would be spared of the latter´s verbal assault if the former displayed any poor fielding off the latter´s bowling. The latter would ask something to the effect of “Do you need the ball to be size of a pumpkin for you to catch it?” which was even heard through the on-field microphones. That was Wasim. That was his commitment to the game. Wasim is my favorite cricketer of all-time.

An Angry Nanda Wanninayaka

An Angry Nanda Wanninayaka

The second one, me, nowhere close to Wasim, the legend but, is a hugely brushed-off cricketer in my own small village cricket club. I must probably have been the bowler who took the most number of wickets for my team but was never considered as a bowler because I didn’t bowl fast (enough.) I used my head than the body when bowling and captured an average of 5 wickets in two 10-over per side match an evening. Fast bowlers like my own younger brother Aruna, Samantha, Donald, Sanath were considered as the best bowlers but all of them except Donald conceded a lot of runs as they delivered more no-balls and wides than legitimate balls. My brother was the undisputed “No-ball King” those days. But all these bowlers were good bowlers given the reason that they had to bowl with a tennis ball on an uneven grassy pitch, not even on a mat. But I was sidelined during the inter-club matches as I did not bowl fast (enough.) Taking wickets constantly during practice matches was never considered as a qualification to bowl during inter-club matches. I was a bad fielder at the beginning and dropped many a catch but later improved myself a lot and hardly dropped a catch after I learnt the techniques of holding onto a catch while watching cricket commentaries on TV. When it comes to batting, I was a bad batsman and hardly scored 10+ in an innings. Then again, I learnt batting techniques on TV and then improved myself. Despite the strong protest of my own younger brother, I promoted myself to the prestigious position of the opening batsman and lasted almost all 10 overs while the batsmen from other end collapsed like cards of dominoes. I didn’t go to big hits unless it was very needed towards the latter part of the innings and all I did was trying to last the full quota of 10 overs allocated for a team. All I knew was that the team that batted all 10 overs always won, mainly thanks to no-balls and wides that came as bonuses. This was why I opened batting and went on to bat all 10 overs on more often than not. This doesn’t mean that I occasionally got out for a duck, perhaps on the first ball.

Keeping that all self-promoting nonsense aside, all I wanted to say is that even though I cannot compare myself with my favorite cricketing hero, legendary Wasim Akram, we both were equally aggressive players, if not more, on the field. We both fought till the last ball to win a match, not to save a match.

Now both Wasim and I are retired and I still enjoy him as a commentator, He might not be as lively as Ravi Sastri, as eloquent as Rameez Raja, as crazily fast as Harsha Boghle or as technical as Sunil Gavaskar as in the commentary box, but the soft-spoken Wasim has a great sense of humor and a stylish language in commentating. But all I want to see great Wasim is as a player for the eternity. Such pace, such strength, such talent, such commitment, such perfection, such anger, such aggression, such glamour, you will never see from anyone but Wasim.

Well, last but not least, Wasim Akram’s career was constantly tainted with controversies on and off the field and err … … … so was (and is) mine. 

Wasim Akram Celebrating a Wicket

Wasim Akram Celebrating a Wicket

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram  Celebrating After Taking a Wicket

Wasim Akram Celebrating After Taking a Wicket

Wasim in Action

Wasim in Action

Wasim Akram  Bowling

Wasim Akram Bowling

Wasim Akram  Bowling

Wasim Akram Bowling

Wasim Akram  Bowling

Wasim Akram Bowling

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram Roaring After Taking a Wicket

Wasim Akram Roaring After Taking a Wicket

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram Encouraging Shoaib Akhtar

Wasim Akram Encouraging Shoaib Akhtar

Wasim Akram Celebrating a Wicket

Wasim Akram Celebrating a Wicket

A Resting Wasim Akram

A Resting Wasim Akram

Nanda Wanninayaka Batting

Nanda Wanninayaka Batting

Nanda Wanninayaka Going for a Big Shot

Nanda Wanninayaka Going for a Big Shot

Nanda Wanninayaka Making Field Changes of the Opposition While Batting :-)

Nanda Wanninayaka Making Field Changes of the Opposition While Batting 🙂

Nanda Wanninayaka Hooking

Nanda Wanninayaka Hooking

Nanda Wanninayaka Taking the Guard

Nanda Wanninayaka Taking the Guard

Nanda Wanninayaka Waiting to Hammer a Short Ball

Nanda Wanninayaka Waiting to Hammer a Short Ball

Nanda Wanninayaka Teaching this American Guy Colin Himes to Bat

Nanda Wanninayaka Teaching this American Guy Colin Himes to Bat

Nanda Wanninayaka Cricket (7)

Nanda Wanninayaka Installing the Dismantled Wicket

Nanda Wanninayaka Teaching Miss Bára Molnárová from the Czech Republic to Bowl

Nanda Wanninayaka Teaching Miss Bára Molnárová from the Czech Republic to Bowl

Nanda Wanninayaka Coaching the Cricketers in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Nanda Wanninayaka Coaching the Cricketers in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Nanda-Wanninayaka-Cricket-Coaching-2

Nanda Wanninayaka Coaching the Cricketers in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Nanda-Wanninayaka-Cricket-Coaching-3

Nanda Wanninayaka Coaching the Cricketers in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Nanda-Wanninayaka-Cricket-Coaching-4

Nanda Wanninayaka Coaching the Cricketers in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Nanda-Wanninayaka-Cricket-Coaching-5

Nanda Wanninayaka Coaching the Cricketers in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

 

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Day 4 – Tissamaharamaya to Yala Wildlife Park and back and to metropolitan Mount Lavinia along Sri Lanka’ coastal route A2. (310 Km) – This is my longest motorcycle ride in a day.


nanda-wanninayaka-motorbike-2

On August 11, 2016, Meer Ali and I woke up early and headed to Yala National Park. We hired a safari jeep and traversed the park. Didn’t see as many wild animals as I used to see in Wilpattu National Park which is close to my village, Mahawilachchiya. A couple of wild elephants, wild boar, wild buffaloes, deer, crocodiles, big and small types of lizards, birds, etc. were seen but, to be honest, I wasn’t impressed with what Yala had to offer me. Maybe because of my first love is with Wilpattu.

Kirinda beach was beautiful and so were the makeshift huts that sold seashells, etc. We spent quite a time on the beach taking pictures. We left Kirinda around 11.30 am and again it was riding on dead straight newly repaired roads and a rider is naturally tempted to break the speed barrier despite the highway patrol present or rather hiding in ambush in hidden spots every 10 km or so.

There was this place which a lady sold kirala juice (kirala – Sonneratia caseolaris)  and I stopped the bike just out of curiosity. It was found to be a very tasty drink and I had two glassfuls while Meer was contented with one. It was cheap and organic too. I do not know why we don’t promote coconuts, wood apple, kirala, orange, etc. juices instead of carbonated drinks. I can understand people drinking the carbonated drinks in the countries where there are less local fruits but in Sri Lanka, you get seasonal fruits from different terrains of the island no matter what season. Unfortunately, soda makers have been able to advertise in a way that the youth indulge in these unhealthy carbonated drinks.

On the way through the Galle Road we spent some time at a naval monument at Tangalle. I first thought this was a monument to remember the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami but it was not to be.

Meer Ali was excited when I took him to Matara beach as he was a fan of the legendary cricketer, Sanath Jayasuriya who was christened as “Matara Mauler” by the sportswriters and cricket commentators due to his hard-hitting batting style which made Sri Lankan team a formidable unit that could beat any cricketing nation during his time. Once, former Pakistani cricketer and the present cricket commentator, Rameez Raja used the word “carnage” to describe Jayasuriya’s batting. Whenever he went for a big score, it was just a ritual for the rest of the match to end up Sri Lanka winning. Jayasuriya was a product of Matara. Meer paused for a few shots on my motorbike on Matara beach.

When I passed Weligama, it was impossible not to remember Rekha, a pretty Nightingale whom I worked with at Asiri Hospital, Colombo 05. Hers was the sweetest smile I had ever seen. I could remember that she was from Weligama, this small coastal town but didn’t know any contact details of her. Besides, I had last seen her some 20 years ago.

It was around six in the evening when we passed Weligama and riding at night through Gall Road was not fun as most Sri Lankan motorists don’t use the dipped beam or the traffic beam of their head lamps and in an inconsiderate manner, almost always use their country beams to dazzle any oncoming fellow motorist. They simply drive with headlights on and you get mad when you get those high flash lights directly on your face. This is not considered as a serious traffic offence by the police, too. I get very irritated when the people do so but it will take eons for the Lankan motorists to learn this and become cultured motorists.

We stopped several times on the way to have tea, but my favorite was coffee. Coffee is my cup of tea 😊.

snacks (2)

Riding some monotonous 150 km bracing myriads of non-dipping main beams of oncoming traffic, along the island’s south western coast we reached the metropolitan Mount Lavinia and were put up in a small hotel for the night. Usually riding such a long distance on a motorbike could be strenuous to a rider but when you have a companion like Meer who was a rare sort of guys when compared with most Indians, you don’t feel the discomfort of the journey. We both sang Hindi songs on the way and he was surprised that I knew more Hindi songs than he did. He said he never felt that he is away from India with Hindi songs being played in almost all small towns we passed. I find both Hindi and Spanish languages are very lyrical and this is why I love them. I had a chance of securing a lucrative job opportunity in Japan if I were ready to learn Japanese but if I will have to learn a second language other than English, it would be Hindi or Spanish. Not Japanese and not French at all even if I am to contest for the post of General Secretary of the United Nations!