Rangana Herath scalped 14 wickets in two matches the last time Australia toured Sri Lanka © Getty Images
Rangana Herath scalped 14 wickets in two matches the last time Australia toured Sri Lanka © Getty Images

Australia are set to take assistance of former Indian player and current Cricket Australia spin consultant Sridharan Sriram to counter the threat of Rangana Herath for their upcoming tour to Sri Lanka. Sriram, who played 8 ODI’s for India, has been working with Cricket Australia over the past 12 months. He has been tasked to help Australia prepare for spinning conditions, which has been achilles heel for the team over the last few years. The last time they toured Sri Lanka in 2011, Herath created havoc, taking 14 wickets in two matches and dismantling the visitors’ batting unit. ALSO READ: Rangana Herath completes 300 wickets in Test Cricket

Speaking to cricket.com.au, Sriram heaped praises on Herath, saying “I’m going to try (to bowl like him). He does have 300 Test wickets to be fair to him. The release and the angle may be similar, so it might help them acclimatise and we can talk to them about what he looks to do, give them an idea of what to expect.”

“He’s got very clever changes of pace. He’s accurate, he bowls the one that comes in (to the right-hander) and the one that goes away, so he threatens your pad as well as your outside edge and that puts the batsman in doubt of where to play, he’s thinking, ‘Where am I going to play?’. That’s his greatest strength.”

Sriram also praised Steve O’Keefe, a player with whom he has worked a lot. “He’s come on so much from when he played (Test cricket in the UAE in 2014). He’s got loads of first-class experience and experience in the subcontinent now as well.”

“For him to start the series (against Sri Lanka) well will be very important – the first few overs, if he can bowl nicely, settle in and get a wicket early on, I think that will set him up well. He bowled really well (in India) last year. He worked out various methods and speeds at which he needs to bowl, and different batsmen, what they were looking to do and how they were looking to attack him.”

O’Keefe, now a 31 year old, also said he is looking forward to bowling in the subcontinent pitches. “It’s important for me to have that belief. It hasn’t been tested at Test level, but I feel as though my preparation is as good as I can possibly have, so if it turns out to be a tour where everything goes to plan, then great, but I also know I’ve done the hard work and what will be, will be.”

“I’m going to enjoy it – I’m looking forward to bowling with ‘Gaz’ (Nathan Lyon) and I’m looking forward to getting a few wins up on the subcontinent, which is hard to come by.”

O’Keefe also showered praises on Sriram for his valuable experience. “You can’t underestimate having someone who has that subcontinental experience. And like with any coach, it’s the way it’s delivered to you – they have to know how to speak to you.”

“He’s a good coach in general, but being a top-order batter and a guy who bowls a bit of spin, his knowledge is sort of second to none. “I know personally he’s had a huge impact on my game, but speaking to the batters as well, I know they’re huge fans of him and fortunately he’ll be coming away on the next tour.”

“Listening to him talk, some of the misconceptions that we’ve got about (playing on the subcontinent), he can shed some light on that – sometimes it’s the reverse of what we think. “So just having those conversations and challenging us is a healthy thing – he’ll be a guy who we bounce ideas off in the lead-up to and during matches.”