Chaminda Vaas turns 43 today © Getty Images
Chaminda Vaas turns 43 today © Getty Images

Chaminda Vaas, born on January 27, 1974, was Sri Lanka’s leading fast bowler in the 1990s and 2000s. Vaas has played 111 Tests, 322 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and six T20 Internationals, scalping 761 international wickets. Nishad Pai Vaidya picks 10 facts about the Sri Lankan left-armer.

1. Not the longest name in Sri Lankan cricket

Contrary to popular beliefs, Vaas does not have the longest name for a Sri Lankan international cricketer. Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas adds up to 52 characters. Among international cricketers, Gihan Rupasingha, Akila Dananjaya, Hemantha Wickramaratne and Sachithra Senanayake have longer names. Let us not write their full names here for paucity of space.

2. Priesthood ambitions

Vaas is a religious catholic. As a young boy, he considered becoming a priest. Speaking to the Guardian, Vaas said, “I seriously considered going into the priesthood, which would have meant 12 to 14 years of study, but cricket began to take over.”

3. Most successful bowler in ODIs against Sachin Tendulkar

Vaas is the most successful bowler against Sachin Tendulkar in One-Day Internationals (ODIs). In 49 encounters, he has dismissed Tendulkar nine times, which is the most by any bowler in the format.

4. The 200th Test wicket that wasn’t

Vaas maintained a notebook, where he recorded all his victims in international cricket. In 2002, he was on the verge of 200 Test wickets by his records and he told his teammates about it before the Asian Test Championship. After he got the required wickets, he was congratulated by the Sri Lankan teammates. However, there was a mistake in his book and he was actually on 196 wickets. He told Guardian, “He (a statistician) told me that I was only on 196. I argued that my calculations said 200, but he said no one else thought so. I’d had handshakes all round in the dressing room and had celebrated over a quiet meal. Now I will have to strive to do it again.”

5. A pleasant gift for the better half

In an ODI against Zimbabwe in 2001, Vaas recorded astonishing figures of eight for 19, which remain the best in ODIs. Interestingly, it was on his wife’s birthday. Wanting her husband to come home early, she asked him to take seven wickets and finish the game quickly. Vaas went one better and bowled Zimbabwe out for only 38.

6. Hat-trick in the first over

During the ICC World Cup 2003, Vaas recorded figures of six for 25 against Bangladesh. He took a hat-trick off the first three balls of the game, to become the first bowler to do it in ODIs.

7. Unique feat for an Asian pacer

Only two Asian seamers have taken 14 wickets in a Test match. Imran Khan did it against Sri Lanka at Lahore in 1982. Vaas managed the feat against West Indies in 2001.

8. 400th ODI wicket in his last ODI

Vaas joined the elite club of bowlers in 2008 when he picked up his 400th ODI wicket against India in Colombo. Unfortunately, that was his last ODI. He played a few Tests thereafter.

9. World Cup final call-up

Though he had played his last ODI in 2008, Sri Lanka recalled Vaas for the final of the ICC World Cup 2011 in Mumbai. Sri Lanka had a few injury troubles and Vaas was in as a back-up.

10. Wicket to begin the IPL

During the inaugural game of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2010, Vaas started things off with a wicket off the first ball of the match. He had dismissed Manoj Tiwary. Vaas was playing for the Deccan Chargers. Brett Lee achieved the feat again in 2013.

Click here to see Chaminda Vaas: Life and Times

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)