A rather grim-faced Chaminda Vaas came to the post-match media conference at Chepauk on Sunday night. His three-wicket haul against the Chennai Super Kings had helped the Deccan Chargers post their first win in IPL III and bagged him the Man-of-the-Match award.
So what was the seriousness for, one wondered. But Vaas was just being Vaas: a good, honest cricketer who sticks out like a sore thumb in the flashy world of IPL. You can’t ask him about his favourite designer, or if he likes the moves of the cheer girls. You have to stick to cricket.
And it emerged that Vaas was on a mission. “I have retired from Test cricket only and I am still available for Sri Lanka in ODIs and T20s,” said Vaas. He last played an ODI in August 2008 and a T20I almost a year before that.
“The World Cup is a big motivation,” he added. Vaas was obviously referring to the 2011 tournament because he is not in Sri Lanka’s provisional squad of 30 for this year’s ICC World T20.
The selectors can’t be blamed because Vaas is not supposed to be successful in the shortest format: At 36, he is too old for a bowler and his medium pace should be cannon fodder for the big-hitters.
Except that he has proved everyone wrong.
He has found zip, swung the new ball and has picked up five wickets in two matches with an economy rate of 6.1.
He is aware of the competition for places in the Chargers’ attack. “We’ll also have Ryan Harris,” he reminded a reporter who asked him if he was worried about the arrival of West Indian Kemar Roach.
“But I am just trying to make the most of every opportunity.” He has been doing just that to fuel his ODI comeback bid.
And maybe, in private, behind the stern exterior, he is having a quiet chuckle too.