Sri Lanka Cricket selectors are, reportedly, not happy with Lasith Malinga and want him to play the upcoming domestic matches, instead of warming the bench and being a bowling mentor for Mumbai. The 34-year was unsold in the auctions this year and has picked up the role of bowling mentor for MI.
SLC selectors have given an ultimatum to Lasith Malinga, who has been selected to play the Inter-Provincial one-day tournament in Sri Lanka, to return back to the country for the domestic matches. The selectors have also warned Malinga that he might not get picked for the Sri Lankan national squad to play South Africa in July, which would be announced on Wednesday.
However, regardless of the warning, Malinga posted a video message, prior to selection, declining to play domestic cricket until the IPL was over. He also mentioned that he was ready to make a comeback into the national squad for the home series against South Africa.
"The selectors will have to make a call in case Lasith doesn't play any domestic cricket," SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz on Tuesday.
"I do believe that we can make use of him for T20 Internationals. We wouldn't have had any problem had he been playing matches at the IPL, but the issue is that he is on the bench," Sumathipala added.
After Malinga’s video surfaced, SLC CEO Ashley de Silva has warned Malinga that his refusal to play domestic cricket might bear consequences, which include not selecting him for the national squad.
"We have informed Lasith that he has been selected. If he doesn't play the Inter-Provincial tournament, it is unlikely that the selectors will consider him," de Silva said.
Since his return from injury, the fast bowler has taken just 10 wickets in 13 ODIs. Despite picking up 17 wickets in 8 matches in domestic cricket, he was ignored for the Nidahas Trophy in March. He did enjoy a good run in T20s as well, picking up 12 wickets in 6 matches at an impressive average of just below 17. According to Malinga, these performances should be enough for his contention in the squad.
South Africa will play 2 Test, 5 ODIs and a T20I in the respective order, in their five-week tour of Sri Lanka.