Chaminda Vaas, the Sri Lanka fast bowler, has announced he will retire from Tests after the third match against Pakistan in Colombo starting Monday. He said he will continue to play one-dayers and Twenty20s till the 2011 World Cup.
"I am officially retiring from Test cricket after the third Test against Pakistan, but will continue playing one-day and Twenty20 matches till the 2011 World Cup," he told reporters in Colombo, but declined to take any questions.
It will end a fine career by one of Sri Lanka's most persevering and successful fast bowlers. In 110 Tests he has taken 354 wickets at 29.40 after making his debut against Pakistan in 1994 - the second-highest Sri Lankan wicket-taker - along with 400 one-day wickets. Vaas also has 3085 Test runs at 24.48, including a century.
His captain Kumar Sangakkara led the tributes, saying that Vaas' achievements were the benchmark quick bowlers in his country will strive for. "Vaas is a true champion and probably the only Sri Lankan fast bowler who can be called a true legend of the game," he said. "No matter who replaces Vaasy in the bowling attack they will take years and years to reach the standards he has set - and maybe they never will."
Vaas last represented Sri Lanka in February in the abruptly terminated Test series in Pakistan. On July 4 this year Ashantha de Mel, Sri Lanka's chief selector, had been quoted in the press saying that Vaas had retired from Test cricket. However, Vaas, speaking to Cricinfo, denied any such claims.
Vaas, 35, was axed from the Sri Lanka Twenty20 side last October, missing the four-nation tournament in Canada. He kept his place in the Test side and featured in the Karachi match earlier this year but was subsequently dropped for the aborted Lahore Test after he went wicketless in 31 overs.