Sri Lankan cricket enthusiasts are ardent fans of Asela Gunaratne. The following is the interview Sandamalee Warnasooriya had with Asela for the Nation.
Q: You are professionally an army officer. You got promotions due to your cricketing talents?
Certainly, yes. The Sri Lanka Army gave me a promotion and I am very happy about it. That is the highest accolade I received. That is a great encouragement for me to show my cricket talents in the future. But I never expect any rewards for my good performances.
Q: Let us begin this with Twenty20 tournament. What crossed your mind in the middle of the game?
Indeed, we as a team determined to win the match at any cost. We never thought of our personal glory but to collectively win our goal. We are pleased that we achieved it.
Q: Are you an arrogant person?
Never at any time. I never flaunt the pride of my achievements outwardly though I am happy inwardly.
Q: You were the hero in the Facebook recently. Did you have any spare time to view them?
I hardly had any time to log into the Facebook but my wife and my friends conveyed them to me. The comments were creative and rather interesting. We cannot win matches forever, but I am happy if the fans remain with us both at victory and defeat.
Q: I am very curious to know how you remain cool under pressure while playing?
I am an experienced player with long years behind me. I am a hardboiled man to endure pressure. I thought it would be a heavy pressure on me when I joined the national team, but it was never to be so. I have a high confidence in my capabilities which drive me to play at my best but I never blow hot and cold and response only to the moment which can overcome pressure.
Q: When spectators cheering you with high hopes, don’t you get nervous?
I never care about it because it would distract my attention that results my normal performance to suffer. The majority of the spectators were Sri Lankans who enthusiastically cheered our team which helped us to win the matches.
Q: Many expected that you would have been selected to the National Team long before.
I am happy about such an opinion. But it is better late than never. I got the opportunity when I was at my peak. I am still 31 and I have some years before me to play well.
Q: Could you speak about your personal life?
I am a person from an ordinary family. My wife, Anushi, employed at the Ministry of Justice. We have a kid son.
Q: Being an Army officer and a cricketer, you must be a very busy person. Doesn’t your wife complain about spending less time at home?
She often grumbles for not staying long enough with the family. But she is a very understanding person who is a great source of strength to my life. She forgives me for my busy schedules balancing my time working and practising. So it is no reason for friction.
Q: What are your expectations of your son?
He is still very small to judge. I expect him to be good at learning as well as at cricket. I love him watching me playing because it will inspire him to the game. I leave him to decide his own destiny.
Q: I hope your humility will prevail in the future too.
No doubt about it. I can assure you that I never get swollen-headed due to my achievements.