Posts Tagged ‘chaminda vaas’

Club cricket takes a new turn this week with the inaugural Twenty20 Champions League. Here’s a brief run-down of the sides involved:

  • The Cape Cobras, although without the injured Graeme Smith, will still have plenty of firepower with JP Duminy and Herschelle Gibbs the main threats. The lack of access to the large pool of overseas talent that the IPL teams will enjoy could be an issue, though, as could a lack of familiarity with subcontinental conditions from the non-internationals amongst the squad.
  • The Deccan Chargers boast a wealth of talent, with Adam Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds, Chaminda Vaas and Scott Styris all in the squad alongside Indian players of the quality of Laxman and RP Singh. One of the IPL sides will be expected to win the competition, and the Chargers will certainly fancy their chances.
  • The Delhi Daredevils pulled off a coup in securing Dirk Nannes‘ services for the tournament, and some of his fellow Victorians may be cursing that decision on Friday when he could well open the bowling against the Australian side. Meanwhile, Gambhir, Sehwag and Dilshan could be an irresistable top order combination if they all hit form. The loss of Paul Collingwood to injury is unlikely to be felt too deeply (except by Collingwood himself, who has ‘a little niggle in his buttock’, no less).
  • The Eagles are on paper the weakest team in the competition, but the likes of Dillon du Preez and Ryan McLaren have overseas experience, and Twenty20 competitions have proved ripe for surprising results in the past, so they shouldn’t be underestimated.
  • New South Wales could upset the IPL hegemony, with the likes of Simon Katich and the famously big-hitting David Warner providing the runs, whilst Stuart Clark, Nathan Hauritz and Brett Lee will be a potent attack. If the problems which the Australian national side had in the World Twenty20 can be overcome, then NSW could be heading home with some silverware to go with their international players’ natty new white jackets.
  • Otago‘s chief asset, as ever, is the power-hitting of Brendon McCullum, but brother Nathan can also contribute. Dimitri Mascarenhas, available as neither Hampshire nor Rajasthan have qualified, has a strong track record in this format with both bat and ball, and is a strong addition to the squad.

Read Full Post »

The Third Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, which starts tomorrow, will be Chaminda Vaas‘ last. The announcement of his retirement from Test cricket comes just a fortnight after he denied speculation that his Test career was coming to an end, and his recall to the Sri Lankan side for the first time since February gives him the chance to leave on a high, with his side looking for a clean sweep against Pakistan.

Vaas is probably Sri Lanka’s greatest ever fast bowler, having played more than 100 Tests and taken more than 350 wickets. Whilst he intends to play one-day and Twenty20 cricket for another two years, his absence from the Test side will be keenly felt. If you don’t believe me, watch his 5-61 against the West Indies in Guyana last year below.

Read Full Post »

Yesterday’s recovery from Pakistan has proved to be somewhat of a dead cat bounce, as the tourists lost their last 9 wickets for just 35 runs (only the top three made it into double figures) to allow Sri Lanka to wrap up a historic win (and their first home series win against Pakistan) within three days.

Rangana Herath and Nuwan Kulasekara took 5-99 and 4-37 respectively for Sri Lanka as the hosts restricted Pakistan to a lead of just 170, before their batsmen reached 171/3 in less than 32 overs to wrap up a victory which seemed improbable 2 hours earlier.

For Pakistan, the brief moment of hope has once again faded, and the number of times that their batsmen were given out LBW is cause for concern. For Sri Lanka, there is encouragement that the absence of Murali need not preclude significant progress, and that the pace bowling attack is robust enough to cope without Vaas and Malinga.

Read Full Post »

The build-up to the imminent Test series between Sri Lanka and Pakistan may have brought up memories of two recent meetings between the sides – the recent World Twenty20 final, and of course the sadly curtailed Test series of four months ago – but there’s change afoot for both sides.

For the hosts, Kumar Sangakkara takes over as captain, whilst Muralitharan, Vaas and Malinga are all absent, opening up opportunities for the likes of Angelo Matthews and Suraj Randiv to make debuts (and for Kulasekara to front the Test attack). Sri Lanka have never won a Test series at home against Pakistan, and in fact have only won a single home Test against the tourists, but their batting form is impressive enough to make the sorts of scores that can remove defeat from the equation.

For Pakistan, Mohammad Yousuf returns from his self-imposed (and self-rescinded) ICL exile, whilst Mohammad Aamer, supremely impressive at times in the World Twenty20, could be in line for a Test debut. The feelgood factor from that tournament hasn’t worn off yet, but bowling Sri Lanka out twice will be a challenge even for an attack featuring the brilliance and form of Umar Gul.

Read Full Post »

The second season of the IPL (or the first season of the SAPL, if you prefer) gets underway this weekend, so here’s the lowdown on the teams taking part:

Bangalore Royal Challengers
Bangalore’s main pre-season activity was the purchase of Kevin Pietersen and KP will join a host of his fellow countrymen in Kallis, Steyn and Boucher. Last year the Royal Challengers finished seventh of eight teams, with only 4 wins, and Rahul Dravid didn’t look much of a Twenty20 batsman last time out, so it is to be hoped that the signing of Pietersen and the availability of Nathan Bracken following injury last year will improve things.

Zaheer Khan has departed to the Mumbai Indians in a swap deal for Robin Uthappa, but Steyn and Bracken – when available – should be enough to keep the bowling up to standard. Nevertheless, the Royal Challengers are unlikely to be amongst the favourites for the competition this year (although as Rajasthan showed last year, the odds may not be a fair indicator of each team’s relative chances).

Chennai Super Kings
Initial indications are that Chennai look strong again this year. Matthew Hayden’s retirement from international cricket means he is available for the whole competition, and new signing Andrew Flintoff, if fit, could potentially be the archetypal IPL all-rounder. In addition, MS Dhoni remains a potent threat.

Last season, the Super Kings lost out to Rajasthan in the final on the last ball, and the squad looks good enough to go one better this time around if fortune (and fitness) favours the Super Kings.

Delhi Daredevils
Dehli have been hit by the loss of Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Asif, but have added Australian master blaster David Warner and English duo Paul Collingwood and Owais Shah. Perhaps most important of their new additions is ‘Dirty’ Dirk Nannes, a Twenty20 specialist who has been part of successful Middlesex and Victoria teams in the shortest form of the game.

Dehli also have the likes of Sehwag, Gambhir, Vettori, de Villiers and McGrath at their disposal, so if the Daredevils can get the make-up of their side right, they have a strong chance of success. The fact that most of their overseas stars will be available throughout may lead to the odd selection problem, but they will be problems of the sort that other franchises would like to have.

Deccan Chargers
Last year’s wooden-spoon winners in dead last place, the Chargers suffered heavily in the batting department as Shahid Afridi, Scott Styris and even Herschelle Gibbs failed to live up to expectations. he has been recalled, and they have a preponderance of all-rounders having also added Dwayne Smith and Ryan Harris.

RP Singh is also under pressure after a disappointing season last year, as is Chaminda Vaas, and Fidel Edwards’s arrival should improve the effectiveness of the bowling unit. In all, there is some hope for a better performance this year, although it would be hard for the Chargers to do any worse.

Read Full Post »

For Pakistan, the main feeling ahead of the ODI series against Sri Lanka is probably novelty – they’ve hardly played any international cricket of late. The matches they did play in 2008, though, generally ended in victory (although many were against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh). The side has suffered the not inconsiderable loss of Mohammad Yousuf to the ICL, and Shoaib Akhtar‘s fitness is a concern (he looks set to miss the first ODI of this series), but Younis Khan and Salman Butt are both capable of making big scores, and if they can stand up to the twin spin challenge of Murali and Mendis, then they both have a chance of being the first Pakistani batsman to score a century against Sri Lanka since October 2004.

Sri Lanka’s past form has been almost as impressive as Pakistan’s, but their near miss against Bangladesh in the Tri-Series final (and, of course, their defeat in the same competition) has left them with a point to prove. If the spin twins play to their potential, and Nuwan Kulasekara does a decent job in filling Vaas‘ shoes, then Pakistan’s batsmen may be on the back foot. If Sri Lanka win the series 3-0, they’ll rocket up the ODI rankings from 7th to 4th (leapfrogging Pakistan on the way up), so there’s plenty at stake for both sides.

Read Full Post »

India confirmed their first ever ODI series victory in Sri Lanka with victory in Colombo.

What’s more, the batsmen finally delivered. Raina and Dhoni continued with their form from the last game, and Virat Kohli made his maiden ODI 50 as the tourists assembled a score of 258, the highest of the ODI series so far.

For Sri Lanka, the story is their first ever back-to-back home series defeats. Ouch. Vaas took his 400th One Day International wicket, but it was scant consolation for the hosts, who struggled throughout.

Read Full Post »

After the failure of their middle order and all the wicketkeeping issues in the Test series, India will be relieved to wave goodbye to the Failing Fab Four and welcome back the ‘rested’ MS Dhoni for the One-Day matches against Sri Lanka.

As well as Dhoni, the likes of hip young gunslingers Yuvraj Singh and Irfan Pathan also join the tour for the limited-overs segment, as does hipper, younger gunslinger Virat Kohli. There was always going to be pressure on the One-Day specialists following India’s poor performances in the Tests, and the absence of Tendulkar through injury means there will be even more. Success will also depend on whether openers Sehwag and Gambhir can continue their good form, one of India’s few bright spots, from the longer form of the game.

For Sri Lanka, much rests on the spin bowling of Muralitharan and bright young thing Ajantha Mendis, but they will also be happy to welcome back ‘Uncle’ Sanath Jayasuriya for the One-Day series. Following victory over India in the Asian Cup final, Sri Lanka will find themselves favourites. Their fast bowling, however, remains much-depleted, with only Vaas having any real experience.

If India’s ‘new blood’ can deal with Mendis and Muralitharan better than their aging Test counterparts, they have a good chance in the series, but Sri Lanka’s home record is almost as formidable in the 50-over format as it is in Tests.

Read Full Post »

Following the capitulation of every Indian batsmen that wasn’t Sehwag or Gambhir in the first innings, the two openers continued to impress in India’s second innings against Sri Lanka.

There has been a notable although incremental improvement since the First Test in how India’s batsmen have coped with the bowling of Mendis and Muralitharan, which puts pressure on Sri Lanka’s weakened pace attack (which more or less means Vaas) to take wickets if the match is to be saved. How many runs Ganguly and Laxman make will be crucial, as only 14 runs were made by India’s bottom four in the first innings.

Read Full Post »

Sehwagology gained another batch of converts today, as its Leader (who may or possibly may not have any brains, according to one non-believer) made an unbeaten ton, notable for the seeming ease with which he played the bowling of Ajantha Mendis, the scourge of Indian batsmen and claimer of two more wickets today (those of Gambhir and Dravid).

India could have been out of sight, but four wickets fell for only 11 runs, with Mendis making the breakthrough before Vaas snared Bollywood’s Sachin Tendulkar and Ganguly. Tomorrow is likely to be an interesting day of cricket.

Read Full Post »