Hamstring injury sidelines pace bowler July 28, 2005

Vaas will miss Indian Oil Cup opener

Chaminda Vaas: out © Getty Images

Sri Lanka will start the Indian Oil Cup without Chaminda Vaas, their in-form new ball veteran, who pulled a hamstring against West Indies at the weekend. Vaas is likely to miss the Dambulla stage of the tournament as the team management are reluctant to risk causing long-term damage by pushing him back too soon, although he is typically anxious to return.

"Chaminda [Vaas] will not play in the first game," CJ Clarke, the team's physiotherapist, told Cricinfo on Thursday. "It would be too big a risk and if he aggravated it he could be out for four weeks. We are not really sure when he will be able to return at this stage but hopefully he will make the Colombo games."

Dilhara Fernando has also got a niggling thigh strain but he played in a warm-up day-night match between a Atapattu XI and Jayawardene XI on Thursday and is expected to be available for selection. Vaas's absence may allow him to make a comeback after a long absence after frustrating year on the sidelines following his latest stress fracture of the back.

Nuwan Zoysa, Vaas's new-ball partner last year, will have to lead the pace attack in Vaas's absence with assistance from Lasith Malinga. The final bowling place will be taken by either Dilhara Fernando, Farveez Maharoof or Dilhara Lokuhettige, Sri Lanka's new allrounder. Maharoof and Lokuhettige are the frontrunners because of their batting skills.

Charlie Austin is Cricinfo's Sri Lankan correspondent