Vaas is a true victim of politics

After much speculation and debate among the cricketing fraternity, as to the composition of Sri Lanka’s squad for the 2011 Cricket World Cup, the squad was finally announced. Selectors’ worldwide face a difficult and thankless task, since any squad selected, would come in for criticism by some. This is simply because everyone cannot be accommodated in a squad of a limited number.

Perhaps the only fairly recent exceptions where squads could not be criticized are Clive Lloyd’s West Indian team and Steve Waugh’s Australian team. Aravinda de Silva in my opinion is by far, the best batsman produced by Sri Lanka.

Maybe Messrs Sathasivam and C.I. Gunasekera were of equal or better class, but we have not seen them batting since they were of an earlier era. Appointing Aravinda to chair the selection committee was a very good decision, for two reasons. Firstly there is no one who could question his cricketing credentials and secondly he has done a very good job since he was appointed. I think he should be allowed to continue for many more reasons.

The Squad selected by Aravinda and his team is the best available perhaps with one exception. I would have included Chaminda Vaas in place of Dilhara Fernando. Perhaps it was too difficult a task to drop Jayasuriya and include Vaas. So the easy option was to drop both. Hence the true victim of politics has been Vaas. Kulasekera had to be in the squad as he is economical in one day cricket.

There is no point in taking 1 for 70 or 2 for 75 in one day cricket. It is much better to have none for 35 or 1 for 45 which Vaas most certainly would have achieved against the best in the world. The bottom line is winning matches not the speed of the bowlers.

It augurs well for Sri Lanka cricket to bring in promising youngsters in place of ageing veterans. If there was such a youngster I would have certainly settled for him in place of the veteran Vaas. But sadly there is none. Hence in the current toss up between Vaas and Dilhara Fernando, I think the veteran is streets ahead.

Cricket is very unpredictable, but India look to be Sri Lanka’s main threat to win the World Cup and Vaas has a very good track record against India’s main batsman Tendulkar. I honestly think our final playing eleven would have been much stronger if our four frontline bowlers were Lasith Malinga, Kulasekera, Vaas and Murali.

I wish to conclude by congratulating the selectors headed by Aravinda for a job well done and my best wishes to the Sri Lanka team. Let’s bring back the World Cup home once again boys. We wish you the best of luck.

R. De Costa, 21, 40th Lane, Colombo 6.

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