If sport is the metaphor for human endeavour, Farveez Maharoof’s comeback against India is a case in point. The Sri Lankan seamer destroyed the visitors with a hattrick and a five-for after spending 18 months in wilderness. Maharoof lapped up a final chance to swing things in his favour when the Lankan selectors named him in the 2010 Asia Cup squad.
But the selection presented an added pressure. His record at Dambulla prompted the selectors to pick him and, had he failed, his future was as good as over. It was a touch and go situation, but Maharoof took up the challenge.
In the first match against Pakistan, Maharoof ended up leaking 53 runs. He got benched in the next match. Brought back against India in a dead rubber, Maharoof struck. His first victim was Virat Kohli. He pitched the ball in the corridor of uncertainty and Kohli nibbled at it, sending a catch to Kumar Sangakkara.
But he saved his best till the 39th over when he produced the first hattrick of the series and his second in international career. Sri Lanka desperately wanted to capitalise on MS Dhoni’s wicket and Sangakkara chose Maharoof. The lanky pacer rapped Ravindra Jadeja on the pads for a leg-before decision, Praveen Kumar’s inside edge crashed on to his stumps and Sangakkara collected Zaheer Khan’s half-hearted push.
Phew! Too much happened too soon. But that wasn’t all. Just two overs later, a yorker found Ashok Dinda plumb and India slumped to 195 for 9.
“I didn’t plan it (the hattrick). It just came. In the past, I have done well here as this venue suits me. If I can repeat this on Thursday, we can lift this championship,” said Maharoof.
But he knows this performance might not get him a place in the final. Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara will be the first-choice bowlers and it will be a toss up between Maharoof and Chamara Welegedera.
Even if he gets the axe on Thursday, Maharoof won’t mind. Sangakkara has acknowledged the pacer’s hard, which is the best gift he can get.