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Farveez Maharoof shares the best moments from his career

‘There is no bigger honour than playing for your country’

Priyam Marik | Published 16.07.21, 01:47 AM
Former Sri Lankan all-rounder Farveez Maharoof

Former Sri Lankan all-rounder Farveez Maharoof

Sourced by the correspondent

In an exclusive chat with The Telegraph, Farveez Maharoof, the former Sri Lankan all-rounder, shares the best moments from his career, his diagnosis of Sri Lankan cricket, what being in India means to him, his love for Ed Sheeran and Backstreet Boys, and much more!

You have been one of Sri Lanka’s greatest fast-bowling all-rounders. But you actually started out as a wicketkeeper, didn’t you? When and how did the switch to fast-bowling happen?


When I was captain of the Under-13 side, there was a game when five of our players were not available. I used to be a wicketkeeper at the time, but on that day the coach wanted me to take off my pads and bowl. And as it turned out, I picked up six wickets, including a hat-trick, in my first official match as a bowler! After that match, my wicketkeeping gloves were taken off and (they) never came back.

You were an integral part of the excellent Sri Lankan team that reached the ICC World Cup final in 2007 (where they lost to Australia). What was that experience like?

The 2007 World Cup holds a special place in my heart... though, unfortunately, we could not go one step further. Going into the tournament, we knew we could upset a lot of people. We finished a tough group (with India, Bangladesh, and Bermuda) unbeaten. We had good momentum throughout... there was a lot of competition for places. In the Super Eight game against Ireland, I picked up four wickets and won man of the match, but still could not get a place in the semi-final against New Zealand. But overall, it certainly was a special tournament for all of us.

You were part of the initial seasons of the IPL, playing for the Delhi Daredevils. One of your fellow fast bowlers there was Glenn McGrath (inset). What sort of an influence did he have on your bowling?

It was massive. I wish I could have met him before. But the two years I spent with him, I learnt a lot.... He was one of my heroes growing up. The IPL gave me this great opportunity to be with him for a couple of months a season and I learnt a lot about workload management, how to retain fitness, and the mental side of the game. At the time, I was also bowling a lot of leg-cutters, and Glenn, even though he was retired, would try to add that delivery to his repertoire, which meant that we got to work together on many occasions during the net sessions.

Sri Lankan cricket is going through a tough time right now, the team being a shadow of its former self. What are the factors according to you that are responsible for this difficult period?

Even though we play well in patches, we are just not good enough for international cricket (right now). Our rankings speak for themselves. At the moment we are going through a phase where the selectors have changed, mindsets have changed, there’s a lot of grooming of young players, sidelining of senior players. I actually expected it, but I did not expect it to be this bad.

We are also lying at the bottom of the automatic qualification table for the 2023 World Cup. So that’s another reason to do better.

At the end of the day, there is no bigger honour than playing for your country, playing for your badge. There is nothing else you can ask for. So the boys have to pull up their socks and do what they are supposed to do.

Given Sri Lanka’s recent troubles and India’s firepower, do you see the Indians as overwhelming favourites in the upcoming series?

Absolutely, even in the ODI rankings, India are quite high up (fourth) and Sri Lanka are ninth. That shows the difference in the two teams. I understand some of India’s key players are in England preparing for the Test matches. But they still have many established names for this series, they are extremely formidable.

You have spent a fair bit of time in India over your career, playing for Sri Lanka as well as in the IPL. What have you liked best about being in India?

India is my second home, it holds a very special place in my heart. I have a lot of good friends there, a lot of good memories. What I like best about India is the warmth and the welcome that you get wherever you go. And also, in terms of food, if I could have butter naan and chicken tikka masala for all three meals every day, I would be the happiest man in the world!

We have heard that you are a big fan of Ed Sheeran and Backstreet Boys. Have you had the chance to watch any of them perform live?

No, not yet. But it is my dream to make that happen. Once Backstreet Boys were performing in Singapore and I was supposed to go, but due to a family emergency I could not make the trip. When I was growing up, Backstreet Boys was the band that I followed the most, and I still make time to listen to them.

Your Twitter tells us that you love your football. But are we right in guessing that you are a Manchester United supporter?

The best club in the world, number one. Biggest following, what do you expect?!

What did you make of Jadon Sancho joining United?

It is a massive statement, to have a big money signing like this during the pandemic. With a couple of more signings, I reckon we can challenge Manchester City and Liverpool for the Premier League title.

Finally, you were born and brought up in Colombo. Give us some local insights on what makes Colombo so special as a city.

Colombo has everything, it is a tourist’s paradise. It is the commercial hub, and the capital as well. All the big businesses are here. There are actually a lot of Indians who come for their holidays in Colombo before going down south or near the centre of Sri Lanka where it’s much colder with all the hills. But as someone who grew up in Colombo, it is difficult to live somewhere else where life is more measured and slow. Because Colombo has always been fast and furious!

Watch the 1st ODI on 18th July 2021 LIVE on SONY TEN 1 and SONY SIX in English and SONY TEN 3 in Hindi from 2.30 pm IST


• Debuting in 2004 for Sri Lanka, Maharoof has played in 22 Tests, 109 One Day Internationals and 8 T20Is

• Maharoof is one of a select crop of Sri Lankan players to have more than 1,500 international runs and more than 150 international wickets to their name

• Maharoof has both captained and managed the Sri Lankan U-19 team

• In his first World Cup game in 2007, Maharoof picked up four wickets for 23 runs against Bermuda, the best bowling figures for a Sri Lankan on World Cup debut

• Maharaoof enjoyed a brilliant calendar year of 2008 and found himself selected in the ICC ODI Team of the Year, the only Sri Lankan to make the cut

• In 2016, Maharoof returned to the national team after a four-year hiatus, featuring in the ODI squad for the tour against England and Ireland


Your Sri Lankan cricketing idol: Sanath Jayasuriya

One Indian player you would have loved to have on your side during your playing days: Virender Sehwag, because I hated bowling to him

Your best memory in a Sri Lankan shirt: The hat-trick against India in 2010

The best piece of advice you have received in cricket: Enjoy the pain

Your favourite Ed Sheeran song: Everything

Your favourite travel destination: Maldives

Your favourite Bollywood film: Victory (2009), because I starred in it for two seconds!

The one thing you cannot travel without: My mobile phone

Last updated on 16.07.21, 01:47 AM

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