Lead Sri Lankan tweaker looking to hit the ground running in Abi Dhabi.
Ace Sri Lankan spinner Rangana Herath is hoping lack of Tests will not affect his bowling in the first of three Tests against Pakistan starting in Abu Dhabi from Tuesday.
Sri Lanka have not played the five-day format since beating Bangladesh at home in March this year, but Herath claimed Sunday he would be ready come the first Test.
“As a team we played in March against Bangladesh and if you play regular cricket then your form is much easier to keep but I don’t feel any rustiness and am ready for the three Tests,” Herath said.
The 35-year-old left-armer is seen as Sri Lanka’s answer to Pakistan’s off-spinner Saeed Ajmal in the Tests but Herath said he was not concerned with the hype.
“Ajmal is a very nice bowler and his record is very good, even I have done well in the last four five years, so somebody can say that it’s a battle but I am not concerned about Ajmal.
“I am concerned about my team and how I am going to perform,” said Herath, who took 12 wickets in Sri Lanka’s second Test win against Bangladesh in Colombo.
And his record against Pakistan, 51 in 12 matches also speaks volume for his success, but Herath won’t take it for granted.
“Everything is past, I feel you can only take it as confidence but it’s past so I need to start from the beginning on Tuesday,” said Herath, who has 200 wickets in 47 Tests.
Herath rated Pakistan’s top order as strong with skipper Misbah-ul Haq and Younis Khan.
“I think Khurram Manzoor has played well, Shan (Masood) is the only new guy but you have (Mohammad) Hafeez, Misbah, Younis and Asad Shafiq and the top order is much better,” said Herath.
Herath said he knew what was expected of him, more so after the retirement of world record spinner Muttiah Muralitharan in 2010.
“As a bowler I know the responsibility I have, not thinking about who has left, Murali or whoever. I miss him very much and even now if I can bowl with Murali it’s much easier to bowl.
“You know what kind of bowler he was, what kind of class Murali had, you can’t compare him with anyone, so I don’t have words to say about Murali,” said Herath of the off-spinner who took 800 wickets — the most in Test cricket.