2 minutes with RUMESH RATNAYAKE

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 October, 2004, 12:00am

The Asian Cricket Council development officer says China will be a force to reckon with internationally in 20 years. The former Sri Lankan fast bowler, who took 73 wickets in 23 Tests, also hopes that Hong Kong can one day gain ODI status. He is 40.

Life certainly seems busy at 40?

Yes it is. My role as ACC development officer involves a lot of travelling to Bhutan, Nepal, Hong Kong and the Maldives. We are also pushing the game in Cambodia, China, Taiwan and Vietnam.

What is ACC's goal for Hong Kong? To gain one-day international status.

Everyone seems to be heading towards China? Indeed. They have massive potential. I can see them being amongst the giants of the game in 20 years.

Any particular reason why China will latch on?

The Chinese government has given its blessings to cricket. Also they have the resources in terms of grounds something which Hong Kong lacks although it has a sound system in place.

Is cricket suited to the Chinese?

Who would have thought the Chinese would take to basketball? Everyone thought the Chinese were too small. They are a nation of strongly-built athletic people and cricket will be an ideal game.

What about skill-wise?

That will come with time. The more cricket they watch, the more quickly they will learn. One of our goals is to get cricket to be shown more on Chinese television.

What is the most important quality for a player?

You must have the passion for the game. A fast bowler needs a strong body, strength, power. a good rhythm and timing. But all these are useless without a passion to bowl.

Your most memorable moment?

Taking nine wickets, including the last wicket of Kapil Dev caught and bowled, and playing a role in Sri Lanka's first Test win [over India in 1985].

The world's best bowler now?

Brett Lee for his action, but for all-round quality it has to be Wasim Akram. He was the complete fast bowler.