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The Lowdown

Catching the eye with allround skills

The Lowdown on Farveez Maharoof, the young Sri Lankan allrounder, who is starting to make some significant strides as he develops into an important player for his country

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
06-Apr-2006
With so much cricket played these days it is often difficult to keep track of who is who and what they are doing. In this weekly feature Cricinfo will take a look at one player who is making the news, whether at the highest level or an aspiring talent, and tell you what they are all about. This week, it's the turn of Farveez Maharoof, the young Sri Lankan allrounder.


Farveez Maharoof celebrates a strike against Pakistan, a series where he made important steps as an allrounder © AFP
Sri Lanka's Test series against Pakistan signalled the end of one of the country's finest Test careers. Sanath Jayasuriya couldn't go out in a blaze of glory as Sri Lanka went down by eight wickets and he suffered a sickening thumb injury. However, for each career that draws to a close, there are others bursting into life and on recent evidence, Farveez Maharoof is ready to carve out a niche as a fine allrounder.
A player who can swing a match with bat or ball is the Holy Grail for any team. England have built their recent success around Andrew Flintoff; for the past decade, South Africa have rested heavily on the shoulders of Jacques Kallis and Shaun Pollock; now even Australia have admitted that they need to find one. It is too early to say that Maharoof is Sri Lanka's answer, but this year he has begun to produce the type of displays that get people to sit up and take notice.
Sri Lanka's selectors noticed Maharoof's potential from an early stage. Impressed by his performances as Under-19 captain, during the tournament in Bangladesh in 2004, they fast-tracked him into the national squad for the Zimbabwe tour as they looked towards the future, and particularly towards the 2007 World Cup. He had moved through the age-group system from the Under-15 level following a prolific school career at Wesley College.
His early one-day international performances were especially impressive, even against the stronger teams, and he produced a couple of eye-catching bowling stints at the Champions Trophy, staged during September 2004 in England. His one-day place is more stable than his Test-match berth, but a composed 72, to rescue a rocky situation against Bangladesh at Chittagong, followed by 4 for 52 against Pakistan in Colombo, were major stepping stones towards him bridging the gap to the longer form of the game.
Timeline
July 2000
Plays in the U-15 World Challenge in England
January 2002
Part of the Sri Lanka squad for the U-19 World Cup in New Zealand
February 2004
Made an impression as captain of the U-19 side at the World Cup in Bangladesh. Took 4 for 28 against Zimbabwe at Bogra.
April 2004
One-day international debut at Harare, takes 3 for 3 as a crisis-ridden Zimbabwe are bundled out for 35


Maharoof's batting is becoming more consistent and is giving Sri Lanka added depth © AFP
May 2004
Test debut, also at Harare; makes 40 in the first innings as Sri Lanka complete another rout.
September 2004
In the Champions Trophy in England, he takes four wickets in two matches and produces figures of 10-1-19-1 against England, at The Rose Bowl.
December 2005
Comeback Test against India, at Ahmedabad. He bowls VVS Laxman, although he has 104 by that point, and Sri Lanka lose by 259 runs.
March 2006
Hits his maiden Test half-century (72) against Bangladesh at Chittagong, after Sri Lanka were 178 for 5 in reply to 319.
Current form
The first Test against Pakistan was his best allround performance to date. He struck 46 after Sri Lanka slumped to 32 for 5 at Colombo, and then took 4 for 52 in the first innings.
What he says
"I'm happy with the way I have been approaching my cricket and on the field, I have just been playing my natural game. I have been keeping things simple and things are going well at the moment."
What they say - Mahela Jayawardene following Maharoof's 72 at Chittagong
"We have always known that his batting has huge potential. He has showed glimpses of this batting talent before and he grabbed his opportunity at Chittagong. Generally, his attitude shows that he is a player that is maturing fast and the challenge for him is now to continuing to work hard on both his bowling and batting."
What you may not know
Maharoof's best bowling figures in one-day internationals - 4 for 20 - came when he was the Supersub against India at Ahmedabad. He only bowled five overs, but his spell helped to keep India to 285 for 8 and Sri Lanka went on to win by five wickets.

Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo