x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Vaas gives quit hint as hosts eye a whitewash

Chaminda Vaas fell short of making a formal announcement all but acknowledged that his special entry in the third Test against Pakistan starting today would be his last.

Chaminda Vaas fell short of making a formal announcement all but acknowledged that his special entry in the third Test against Pakistan starting today would be his last. The Sri Lanka seamer was included in the squad after not being considered for the first two Tests, leading to a proxy debate with chief selector Asantha de Mel. The selector went on record to the media saying Vaas had spoken to him about his intention to retire, a claim the 35-year-old left-armer denied.

Vaas said yesterday that he will announce his call and explain other facts at the end of the Test as Sri Lanka look for a 3-0 whitewash. "Let me officially announce my retirement after playing the third Test match against Pakistan. I wish to continue playing ODIs and T20 till the World Cup," Vaas said. But his captain Kumar Sangakkara went on record saying: "It's a sad day when such a great player goes out of Test cricket.

"He has thought long and hard. Vaasy has got a great part to play in our one-day set up until the World Cup." Making his debut against Pakistan in 1995, Vaas went on to play 110 Tests taking 354 wickets, becoming the second highest wicket-taker for Sri Lanka after Muttiah Muralitharan's 770. Vaas bloomed with the bat later with more than 3,000 Test runs. Other than the focus on Vaas, the match is of academic interest with Pakistan battling for pride as Sri Lanka have taken an unassailable 2-0 in the Test series.

The visiting captain, Younus Khan, is looking to reverse his team's slide and inject some momentum after suffering abject collapses that have lead to rumours of infighting within the team. "For short periods we play great cricket, but then let ourselves down by showing a lack of application," Younus said. "Once again it comes down to the lack of Test cricket we have played over the last two years."

Coach Intikhab Alam has rubbished allegations of infighting in the team and has called for a leap of faith among the current squad. "It is nothing new in Pakistan cricket, but I can only urge our former players not to do things which will damage their own team," Alam said. "The batting has let us down badly, but we can't afford another failure. No player wants to fail. I think our senior players are going through a bad time and need support."

* Agencies