Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: In cricket’s pantheon of pace bowling greats, Chaminda Vaas is a dove among the hawks.

His focus is fixed on the stumps, not the batsman’s skull.

“Cricket is a contest between bat and ball, not personal enmity between bowlers and batsmen,” he avers.

For all the punishment a bowler receives, revenge is best exacted by getting the batsman dismissed, is his take on clashes between the two cricketing classes.

Back-breaking work

A Roman Catholic upbringing finds the Rosary within easy reach in his hotel room.

The would-have-been priest turned paceman is no pacifist though, for he sees the bouncer merely as another weapon in a tearaway’s armoury.

“Talent is God-given and training a must to make it bloom,” says the soft-spoken speedster.

Bowling is back-breaking work and its exponents, cannon-fodder, in the ongoing DLF-Indian Premier League, where he opens the attack for Deccan Chargers.

He has no complaints though, for he has the abilities for it and happy with his job.

Setting out in the sport as a batsman who could bowl, Vaas has no regrets that his evolution in the game has been in reverse.

Impressive array

Going by the impressive array in his arsenal, that encompasses reverse swing too, he comes across as a wisp of a bowler, quite unlike the long-limbed lumberjacks indulging in the trade.

“You don’t need too much pace to get wickets,” he says, “swinging the ball being more productive.”

Hitting the deck takes one closer to the target and patience to the much sought after breakthrough, he adds.

Hard work

Bowling must be to a plan, with preparations running up right unto the next delivery.

The virtues of hard work cannot be discounted and while he never had an idol, he’s learnt much from Wasim Akram.

Providence had its hand, he says when looking back.

“I wouldn’t have survived these 15 years without his grace,” he concludes.

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