One can’t but admire the cricket played by the team from the island paradise of Sri Lanka. In all forms of the game they are formidable and their crowning glory being the 1996 World Cup win. They have current stars in the team such as the very refined batsmem Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.
Then previously other such icons as the astute captain Arjuna Ranatunga and his brilliant batting team mate Aravinda de Silva.Then two that have recently retired from tests with much fan fare. In the great mauling batsman Sanath Jayasuriya and the wickets record holder in Muttiah Muralitharan.
All these true icons of Island cricket have been adequately replaced with fine players.Even the genius Murali when he rode of into the sunset with his 800th wicket and with it the games highest mark has been adequately covered in tests.This with the very fine young off spinner Suraj Randiv.
Though there was one who played most of his career as though he was under an invisibility cloak ,never getting the credit that his deeds deserved.Even when he retired recently there was non of the fanfare that was associated with the others.The man i’m referring too is Chaminda Vaas. He just silently slipped off the world scene and into test retirement in 09 as though he never existed at all. In truth this is a tad mystifying for in my mind he was Sri Lanka’s most crucial player. As seen since his retirement by by him being near impossible to replace.Though granted Lasith Malinga has been showing great signs of improvement of late.
Though lets have a greater look at this fine player.He was a fine left arm pace man,though I think he deserved to be defined as a bowling all rounder.A bit in the manner of other great left armers from crickets past in Wasim Akram and Alan Davidson.He surely deserves this honour after amassing 1 century and 13 half centuries at test level.
Though his lower order batting was valuable. It is his very fine swing bowling that his team misses the most.He was his nations first great pace bowler and many of Sri Lanka’s greatest moment have had him at the forefront.He when he started his career had quite good pace to go with his traditional and ‘Irish’ swing.
Then in the latter parts of his career he was a thinking man’s bowler often getting the initial break throughs and having the opposition under the hammer awaiting Murali to enter the fray with his lethal off spinners.In truth with India’s Zaheer Khan I view him as probably the most underrated bowler of this generation.I have no doubt if he played for one of the more publicized teams he’d have his name screamed from the cricket roof tops.
If you look at his record you fully see his pedigree.355 wickets in tests at an average just under 30 with most of his career played on the batting friendly dead pitches in Asia.If he played say in Australian conditions. I’d go so far to add 100 wickets to his record and drop 3 points of his average.In my mind he was that fine. Though I never watch Odi’s his record of being only the 4th man in its history to go past the 400 wicket mark is also very much a pointer to how this man should be viewed.
Maybe the cricket World should start recognising Mr Chaminda Vaas for the great player he was!