Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here

Home > Features > Moments in history >

Chaminda Vaas: Consistent, classy and reliable

Chaminda Vaas: Consistent, classy and reliable

Although his career appeared prolonged towards the end, the fact remains that Chaminda Vaas is Sri Lanka’s greatest fast bowler © Getty Images

Chaminda Vaas, born January 27, 1974, is Sri Lanka’s greatest fast bowler, and the nation’s second highest wicket-taker behind Muttiah Muralitharan. Although he was overshadowed by the latter’s magnificence, he constantly kept delivering and spearheaded the attack forcefully for a considerable amount of time. Karthik Parimal looks back at the career of this classy bowler who swung his way to brilliance.
 

 
During an era which saw Sri Lanka, and most of the cricketing world, celebrate the gradual rise of Muttiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas made steady strides as a bowler. He seldom stole the limelight, but opposition batsmen who faced him during the late nineties and early 2000s will vouch for the fact that he was a thorn in the flesh with a new ball in his hand. His ability to swing it both ways and, to generate a late movement – a trait that has foxed many a batsman – has seen him become the second highest wicket-taker for Sri Lanka in both Tests and One-Day Internationals (ODI).
 
At a time when the Sri Lankans were looking to break free from the shackles of the term ‘minnows’, Vaas played an instrumental role. During the Napier Test against New Zealand in the March of 1995, he finished with figures of 45.3-13-90-10, thereby becoming the first Sri Lankan to take ten wickets in a Test, and in the process bowled the Lankans to their first win in an overseas Test. From then to the end of Sri Lanka’s victorious 1996 World Cup campaign, he became the most successful bowler in both Tests and ODIs, ahead of Muralitharan himself.
 
Five years later in 2001, when the West Indies toured Sri Lanka, Vaas took seven wickets in each innings during the third Test at Colombo to become only the second fast bowler, after Imran Khan, to take 14 wickets in a match in the subcontinent. Even if he hadn’t dished out this astounding performance, he’d have finished second in the list of leading wicket-takers in that series. Moreover, it appeared as though Vaas relished bowling against the West Indies, for his figures provide evidence of that fact. Out of 111 Tests, he has played nine against them and collected 55 wickets at an average of 16.60, inclusive of four five-wicket hauls and one ten-wicket haul. His best bowling figures (seven for 71) too have been scripted against the West Indies.
 
There was a dearth of effective fast bowlers from Sri Lanka before Vaas’s arrival. Despite not having any seamer to look up to for guidance, he paved his own way to the top. With 355 Test and 400 ODI wickets under his belt, Vaas was the first from his region to set a benchmark in fast bowling, and a high one at that. Javagal Srinath once very aptly said, The commonality that you see in India and Sri Lanka is that fast bowlers are few and far between. The wickets we play on could be a major reason for that. The reasons are the same for the two countries. In spite of not having much fast-bowling support he (Vaas) has bowled his heart out.”
 
There are a few cricketers who’ve made limited use of their immaculate talent, and some who’ve maximised their potential through sheer hard work. There is little surprise that Vaas belongs to the second category. “There were a lot of guys more talented than me. My game was limited but I worked harder. Nothing comes easy to you, you have got to make the most of your talent,” said Vaas to the Hindustan Times.

Chaminda Vaas: Consistent, classy and reliable

Chaminda Vaas was handy with bat in the lower-order too, capable of pinch-hitting or consolidating according to the situation © Getty Images

It’s only fitting then that Vaas was the protagonist during many of Sri Lanka’s noteworthy victories in the past. He steered his side to its first-ever series win over South Africa in the August of 2004, and it was during this tournament that a young Lasith Malinga made his presence felt on the big stage. The latter couldn’t have asked for a better role model than the former. Moreover, it was after this performance that Vaas rightfully earned his place in the World Test and ODI XI at the inaugural ICC Awards.
 
The other record of Vaas’s that has remained unconquered since the last twelve years is for the best bowling figures in ODI cricket. His eight for 19 against Zimbabwe during the December of 2001 at Colombo remains the best figures by a bowler in the limited-overs format of the game. Also, he is renowned for claiming a hat-trick with the first three balls of the match against Bangladesh in the 2003 World Cup.
 
He was handy with bat in the lower-order too, capable of pinch-hitting or consolidating according to the situation. There have been umpteen instances of Vaas being promoted in the batting line-up in an attempt to up the ante. However, his technique could sometimes be watertight, and the 2006 tour to England unearthed this facet of his batting. He faced the maximum number of balls in that series (averaging 92), next only to Kumar Sangakkara, and ahead of many an established batsman like Kevin Pietersen, Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan, to name a few.
 
Although his career appeared prolonged towards the end, the fact remains that Chaminda Vaas is Sri Lanka’s greatest fast bowler. It remains to be seen if Malinga can topple his predecessor.
Vaas’ bowling statistics:
 

Format W Avg S/R BBI 5WI
Tests 355 29.58 66 7-71 14
ODIs 400 27.53 39.4 8-19 4

(Karthik Parimal, a Correspondent with CricketCountry, is a cricket aficionado and a worshipper of the game. He idolises Steve Waugh and can give up anything, absolutely anything, just to watch a Kumar Sangakkara cover drive. He can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/karthik_parimal)

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 25, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 25, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 26, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 26, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 27, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Sharjah

More

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 24, 2014  at Sharjah

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 2 runs

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 23, 2014  at Dubai

Chennai Super Kings won by 7 runs

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 22, 2014  at Sharjah

Kings XI Punjab won by 72 runs

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 21, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Chennai Super Kings won by 93 runs

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 20, 2014  at Sharjah

Kings XI Punjab won by 7 wkts

Photos

CSK vs DD, IPL 2014 Match 8 at Abu Dhabi

Videos

IPL: Tanmay Mishra talks shows the contents of his kit

Sachin Tendulkar — One of the hardest terms to optimise for any SEO professional

Sachin Tendulkar changed the fortunes of cricket journalists in India

Sachin Tendulkar — the greatest batsman of India

Sachin Tendulkar: A timeless fairytale

Sachin Tendulkar: The child, the father, but sexy? Not quite

Chennai Super Kings Delhi Daredevils Glenn Maxwell India IPL IPL 7 IPL 2014 Kings XI Punjab Kolkata Knight Riders MS Dhoni Rajasthan Royals RCB vs KKR RCB vs KKR 2014 Royal Challengers Bangalore Sunrisers Hyderabad

Moin Khan hints at change of captain for Pakistan’s ODI side

Chris Lynn helps Kolkata Knight Riders escape with stunning 2-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in Match 11 of IPL 2014

PCB change Muhammad Akram’s role from bowling coach to national selector

RCB need 18 off the last 2 overs against KKR

RCB lose Virat Kohli bust stay in control against KKR

Sachin Tendulkar given out off a wrong replay on his birthday in IPL 2011

Happy birthday! A bouquet of CricketCountry’s best Sachin Tendulkar features

Sachin Tendulkar – The century of centuries in tweets

Sachin Tendulkar — One of the hardest terms to optimise for any SEO professional

Sachin Tendulkar changed the fortunes of cricket journalists in India

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

622 Posts | 7 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli's 77 during India vs Sri Lanka ICC World T20 2014 final at Dhaka

New Indian-South Africa `academic bridge` launched

Are Himesh Reshammiya and Yo Yo Honey Singh overconfident about The Xpose?

Are electronic cigarettes actually safe for you?

Russia starts border army drill after Ukraine attacks rebels

Xbox users are spending 5 hours a day on the console!

7 health benefits of eucalyptus oil

IPL 2014: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) vs Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Match 11 at Sharjah

Vic Gundotra, Google+ head leaves company

Also on cricketcountry.com