Hall: Vaas can decorate trophy cabinet
Andrew Hall wants Northamptonshire to fulfil their potential in the Clydesdale Bank 40 this season and believes Chaminda Vaas can help them do so.
Vaas, the former Sri Lanka seam bowling all-rounder who played Twenty20 cricket and a couple of championship games for Northants last summer, is available in all competitions this season.
As such, the 37-year-old is set to feature in the Steelbacks’ CB40 campaign which begins at home to Leicestershire tomorrow.
Having lost their first four 40-over games last season and finished fifth of seven in Group B - in contrast to a t20 quarter-final and a respectable championship finish - Hall is determined to improve this year.
He told ecb.co.uk: “Our one-day cricket didn’t really take off so for this season I want us to put an emphasis on all three competitions.
“We know what we can do in the Twenty20; we’ve proved it. We know what we can do in the four-day competition; we’ve been there - we lost out on promotion by a point a couple of years ago.
“But in the one-day competition we really haven’t performed over the last couple of years. So I really want us to perform in all three competitions but, saying that, when the time comes and one takes precedence over the others, we’re going to have to make some calls during the season to see how it goes.”
Despite no doubt giving precedence to their t20 last-eight match at Somerset in July, Hall’s side lost by seven wickets to the team that only missed out on the trophy on wickets taken in a tied final.
Vaas, who enjoyed success as a t20 opener for Northants, was run out without facing a ball at Taunton and went wicketless - leaving him on 412 competition runs and 23 scalps from 17 appearances.
With a Test century and one-day international fifty to name - in addition to 355 and 400 wickets respectively - head coach David Capel expected Vaas to deliver with bat and ball.
Capel told ecb.co.uk: “I knew he was an all-rounder and it was an interesting situation where you recognise a guy’s got ability with the bat and you think to yourself ‘well yeah he’s batted number eight for Sri Lanka’ and you look at the kind of talent Sri Lanka have had and his main job in a warm climate there has been to bowl sides out over the years.
“It really didn’t come as a massive surprise to me that he was successful at the top of the order. I know it’s a challenge he really relished; he loved the opportunity to get in there and open the batting in the Twenty20.”
Whether Vaas will be deployed at the top of the order in the CB40 remains to be seen, but Hall knows - if nothing else - Northants' seamers must learn from a player with 111 Test and 322 ODI caps.
Such is his stock that Sri Lanka named Vaas, who had retired from the international game when he was left out of his country’s 15-man squad, on injury standby for this month’s World Cup final despite him not having not featured in the 2011 competition.
Hall added: “We’ve got a massively talented player that’s played a lot of one-day and Test cricket and did exceptionally well last season in the Twenty20 and the couple of four-day games that he played.
“A big part for us is to make sure the guys learn from him while he’s here. We’re going to spend six months with him; the bowlers have really got to sit down and pick his brain and make sure the guys grow and learn off him at a massive rate because, if he’s back next year we're not sure, but we've got to learn from him what we can while we can.
“A guy with that amount of knowledge, we’ve got to make sure we’re tapping into it.”
Capel, who concurs with his captain on Vaas’ quality, concluded: “He really offers that stability to the bowling attack.
“If you look at the percentage of maidens that he bowls in a couple of championship matches he played for us last year, then that’s his hallmark.
“He bowls, makes people play, gets enough movement and his control of line and length and his obvious experience - I’m really pleased he’s on our side.”