When Fernando burst onto the international scene, young and raw, he soon inspired hope that he would be the long-term replacement for Chaminda Vaas as the cutting edge of the pace attack. He has natural pace - six months after his debut he was timed at 91.9 mph in Durban - hits the pitch hard and moves the ball off the seam. During the early years he paid for his inconsistent line and length, but then worked hard with Rumesh Ratnayake in the Fast Bowling Unit and became more reliable. He also learnt the art of reverse swing and developed a well-disguised slower ball. His career, though, has been plagued with injury. He suffered his second stress fracture of the back in 12 months in January 2004 and missed the entire home series against Australia. However, he has now been slowly nursed back to full fitness and after playing for Sri Lanka A in New Zealand, he has won his place back in the squad. He struggled to hold down a regular spot, especially in the Test team, and was again struck by injury in 2005. However, he fought his way back for the one-day leg of the tour of England and, although he is having to look over his shoulder at the young seamers, has forced off the attention of Nuwan Zoysa for a place in the 2007 World Cup squad. But he remains a wild card that can either win or lose a match in one spell. Worcestershire thought of him as a winner, however, when they signed him for the final few weeks of their Championship campaign in 2008.
Charlie Austin September 2008