Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga has sought help from former Mumbai Indians teammate Zaheer Khan, as he looks to reinvent himself for a prolonged run amidst a dwindling career. The 34-year-old will lead Sri Lanka in the 4th ODI against India after Chamara Kapugedera was sidelined with an injury.
Lasith Malinga is just one wicket short of reaching the 300 wickets landmark that would make him only the fourth Sri Lankan bowler to achieve it. However, Malinga’s struggle to get wickets since returning to the international circuit after one and a half years is quite visible and he has also been subjected to vile criticisms.
Malinga knows that his pace has dropped significantly and chose to speak to former Indian bowler Zaheer Khan in order to learn the seam and swing bowling. The two were involved in a chat before the third ODI in Pallekele and Malinga was quite forthcoming when asked about what was the conversation about.
He said, “Zak is more of a seam and swing bowler, and I want to learn more of that kind of thing over the next few years. That’s what I talked with him… They are in the commentary box, they look at every single body movement of mine and my bowling action, and how I swing the ball. They have a good idea of how I’m going now.”
Malinga has played with Zaheer Khan for the Mumba Indians (MI) side in the IPL and heaped praise upon him for his technical know-how and experience. He said, “I played with him in the IPL 3-5 years. He is a legend of the Indian bowling attack. We always talk with so many bowlers around the world. When I meet them, I want to get (to talk to them about) their experience also. So, every time I have an opportunity, we speak about my bowling action and how I have to improve.”
Malinga has always shared a good rapport with his MI teammates and has never backed down from helping them. India’s current bowling sensation Jasprit Bumrah has recently acknowledged how Malinga has been his guide since he Mumbai Indians as a 19-year-old.
With Chamara Kapugedera getting sidelined with a back injury, Malinga will lead the side in the 4 ODI at the R Premadasa Stadium with the series already lost in the first three games. Malinga has taken just one wicket in the last three matches and would hope to reach the hallmark on Thursday.
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