Sri Lanka send for Vaas
Chaminda Vaas could be set for a shock return in the World Cup final after being called up by Sri Lanka as injury cover.
Last Updated: 31/03/11 4:37pm
Sri Lanka have called up veteran seamer Chaminda Vaas and spinner Suraj Randiv as cover for the World Cup final.
Spin bowler Muttiah Muralitharan and all-rounder Angelo Mathews are fitness doubts for Saturday's showpiece in Mumbai against India.
"Chaminda Vaas and Suraj Randiv will be included in the Sri Lankan squad for the World Cup final as cover for the injured Muralitharan and Mathews," Sri Lanka Cricket confirmed in a statement.
Left-armer Vaas, 37, is vastly experienced but has not played any international cricket for almost two years and last appeared in an ODI in August 2008, while Randiv, 26, was part of the one-day tour of Australia last November.
Muralitharan, the leading wicket taker in Test and one-day history who turns 39 on April 17, has struggled throughout the tournament with hamstring, groin, knee and side injuries - but has still performed admirably with the ball.
Given that the World Cup final is set to be his swansong from international cricket, Sri Lanka will be desperate for him to be passed fit and coach Trevor Bayliss is confident.
"Chances are good that Murali will play," he said. "He completed 10 overs in the semi-final, and such is the character of the man that he will play even with discomfort."
Mathews, meanwhile, is a more serious doubt having left the field with a thigh problem during the semi-final victory over New Zealand on March 29 - although he was able to bat with a runner and saw his side home with an unbeaten 14.
Both Vaas and Randiv will join up with Sri Lanka's 15-man squad but will only become eligible for selection if Muralitharan or Mathews are officially ruled out in time for the International Cricket Council's technical committee to approve a replacement.
"We have asked for them just to be on the safe side, but Muralitharan and Mathews will be given as long as possible to prove their fitness," explained Bayliss.
The Australian-born coach added: "We have played good cricket through the tournament and have done well against India in the past.
"The pressure will be on India since they are playing at home, but we are familiar with the conditions in Mumbai."