Matheesha Pathirana of Chennai Super Kings celebrating one of his 15 during their IPL league match in Chennai this season. Image Credit: SPORTZPICS for IPL

Dubai: Sri Lankan great Chaminda Vaas has agreed with Chennai skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s suggestion that death-over specialist Matheesha Pathirana should only play whiteball formats, contradicting Lasith Malinga’s views.

The 20-year-old Sri Lanka pacer, who has been dubbed as the Baby Malinga for his similar sling action, has so far picked 15 wickets from 10 matches for the four-time IPL champions. Chennai skipper Dhoni, during a presentation ceremony, said Pathirana should stay away from red-ball cricket and focus solely on whiteball formats.

Chaminda Vaas

Fitness issues

“I was working for Sri Lanka Cricket one year back and I mentioned the same thing to them. A person like Mathi should be preserved. If he played all the formats he would not survive because of the way he bowls. He doesn’t have an easy action, a unique action which is very strenuous. So fitness will come into the picture. Bowling four overs is OK, if you bowl more than that then the problem will arise, like Dhoni said. I totally agree,” Vaas, one of Sri Lanka’s most penetrative new ball bowlers with 761 international wickets, told Gulf News from Sri Lanka.

Talking to Cricinfo, Malinga, who had worked with Pathirana at Sri Lanka Cricket High Performance Centre, disagreed with Dhoni expressed disappointment over the Chennai Super Kings skipper’s comments, saying that he should not presume that the young pacer will get injured and cited his career as an example of how he was successful in playing all three formats.

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Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is happy with the role of young Matheesha Pathirana for Chennai Super Kings this season. Image Credit: AFP

Tests outside Sri Lanka

“I think anyone who tells him not to play red-ball cricket is doing that because they think he will get injured. I played red-ball cricket first. No one said anything like that to me,” Malinga was quoted. “I somehow want to make this guy even better than me. I think in the next Test tour, try to get him involved, and give him some ODIs as well.”

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However, Vaas viewed it differently and wanted Sri Lanka cricket to preserve him. “I hope Sri Lanka Cricket look into it and take care of him and if you play regularly in the Twenty20 and ODI and then may be when he is fit enough, Sri Lanka Cricket consider him playing Tests outside Sri Lanka,” 49-year-old Vaas, who is set to relocate to Dubai as a Mentor for Mentors Academy by JMR Group, added.

Chennai's trump card

The young Pathirana will be Chennai Super Kings' trump card in the Qualifier 1 against defending champions Gujarat Titans at their den in Chepauk on Tuesday. The four-time champions, who finished second from the bottom last season, will be eager to end their losing run against Gujarat, who hold a 3-0 advantage. But it will be the first time Gujarat will be at Chennai’s den, and the 41-year Dhoni will be the focus of attention.

Chennai have been witness to sea of yellow in all their games so far and it is expected to be no different against Gujarat on Tuesday.