WC 2003 - It was a hat trick that did it for a priestly Vaas

Published: Sunday, March 9, 2003, 23:18 [IST]
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Johannesburg: It should not come as a surprise that Sri Lankan seamer Chaminda Vaas, the most successful bowler at the World Cup with 16 wickets, has a knack for taking hat-tricks.It was a hat-trick in school that made him shun his ambition of becoming a priest and turn to cricket.He claimed a magnificent hat-trick in this World Cup against Bangladesh when he took wickets off the first three deliveries of the match and added a fourth with the fifth ball.He finished with 6 for 25, a dream for most bowlers, except that Vaas already has One-day cricket's best figures of 8 for 19 to his credit.Vaas said he wanted to become a Catholic priest in school and had even attended a seminary for a few months when fate intervened.Called up at the last minute to play for his school because one of the regular bowlers was injured, Vaas made an immediate impression by claiming a hat-trick."I suppose it was up to God, so I should thank Him for the cricket because when I was small I really wanted to be a priest," Vaas told the Sunday Times.Now eight seasons as a professional, the left-armer is Sri Lanka's most successful fast bowler with 271 One-day and 206 Test wickets."I like the world record of 8 for 19 but the hat-trick is special because I achieved it during the World Cup," Vaas said before adding he was aware of the criticism that he got lucky against Bangladesh, a team dismissed in some quarters as no better than a club side."I have been bowling well in Tests and One-dayers. All bowlers perform well in patches."Here, I have bowled well focusing on not giving runs away and at home I worked on the seam position of the ball, the way I run in and my balance. It has produced wickets."Copyright AFP 2001

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