Thursday, June 28, 2007

up the Vaas!

A couple of unsung cricketing heroes for you, both of whom who have achieved noteworthy deeds in the cricketing arena in the last couple of weeks which, for one reason or another, might have escaped your notice.

Firstly (and my excuse for the title of this post) Chaminda Vaas, the admirable Sri Lankan left-arm seam bowler. Not only is he second on a remarkably lopsided all-time list of Sri Lankan Test wicket-takers (one approaching 700, one over 300, nobody else over 100), but by scoring 100 not out in the recent Test against Bangladesh in Colombo he managed finally to remove himself from one of Test batting's more esoteric league tables: most runs in a career without ever making a century, a list he formerly occupied second position in behind Shane Warne.

Secondly, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the gritty West Indian left-hander. After Brian Lara's retirement he's now the senior batsman in the side (all the more so after Ramnaresh Sarwan crocked himself). No-one's going to be making any claims for him being as much of a pleasure to watch as Lara was, far from it in fact, but scores of 74, 50, 116 not out, 136 not out and 70 in the recent series against England, especially while his team-mates were dropping like flies around him, can't be argued with. During the course of this prolific run he became just the seventh West Indian to pass 7000 Test runs, and at a higher average than his illustrious predecessors Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes, both of whom generally had the luxury of playing in winning teams. For a batsman whose reputation is of being a nudger and an accumulator of runs rather than a destroyer of bowling in the Viv Richards or Brian Lara mould, it's a bizarre anomaly that he is also the owner of the fourth fastest Test hundred ever made, and against the mighty Australians as well. It's always the quiet ones.

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