After being ignored during the recent IPL auction in Bangalore, veteran bowler Lasith Malinga has hinted that it might be time to draw curtains on a highly decorated career. The Lankan-born pacer was also overlooked by Sri Lanka Cricket for the upcoming Tri-series involving India and Bangladesh.
Lasith Malinga’s unorthodox action took the world by storm when he made his debut in 2004 in the Test match against Australia. The Lankans were defeated by the mighty Aussies but Malinga managed to claim 6 wickets during the match. Since then it’s been one of the most threatening bowlers in international cricket. Best known for his in-swinging yorkers, Malinga holds the record for being the only bowler to have two World Cup hat-tricks, the only bowler to have taken three hat-tricks in ODIs, and the only player to have taken four wickets in four consecutive balls in any form of international cricket.
However, Malinga was overlooked by fellow countryman and current MI Indian coach Mahela Jayawardene during the recently concluded IPL auction and failed to get any bidders from eight teams in the IPL.
“If my services are not required any longer as a player, it’s time to move on. I know there’s still cricket left in me and if I cannot contribute as a player, I am ready to venture into mentoring leading up to the World Cup,” Malinga told Sunday Times.
The flamboyant round-arm pacer was one of, if not, the best T20 bowlers around the world but fitness issues and a lack of pace has made him an easy target for batsmen. In the 110 matches he had played in IPL, Malinga claimed 154 wickets and also won the Purple Cap in 2011. At 34, Malinga is currently the second highest wicket-taker in T20 cricket with 331 wickets, second only to DJ Bravo who has 409 wickets under his belt. Malinga said he has no long-term goals in cricket but he is more than happy to provide his services, in a coaching capacity, if called upon for the 2019 World Cup.
“If someone calls me today and says ‘Look, we would like to have you within our coaching team for the World Cup’, I am ready to accept it. Not because of anything but I want to share my knowledge with others when I can.” Malinga added.
After below-par performances in the series versus India and Zimbabwe last year, Malinga finds himself on the periphery of the Sri Lankan team as he was overlooked once more for the upcoming Tri-series versus India and Bangladesh.
“My strength is my performance. I have 301 ODI wickets, 101 Tests wickets and 90 T20 international wickets. I took them all by playing for my country with passion and dedication. I have proved myself time and again and to be in this state is not something I expected. Yes, I had a bad series against Zimbabwe and India at home. Does it mean that I am a finished job now?" said a distraught Malinga.