Defending champions Mumbai Indians have confirmed that they will be without the services of their talisman Lasith Malinga, who has pulled out of the competition due to personal reasons, for the forthcoming edition of the IPL. The franchise confirmed that James Pattinson will take Malinga’s place.
In what has come as a huge blow for defending champions Mumbai Indians, the franchise have confirmed that Lasith Malinga will miss the forthcoming edition of the Indian Premier League. It is believed that Malinga’s decision to pull out of the tournament is due to ‘personal reasons’ and in a press release on Wednesday, the franchise confirmed that the veteran pacer will return to Sri Lanka to be with his family.
“Lasith is a legend and a pillar of MI’s strength. There is no denying the fact that we will miss Lasith’s cricketing acumen this season. However, we fully understand Lasith’s need to be in Sri Lanka with his family during this time. Mumbai Indians is founded on the values of ‘One Family’ and for us the members of our squad and their wellbeing will always hold utmost importance,” read an official statement on the Mumbai website.
The club confirmed that Malinga will be replaced by Australia’s James Pattinson, who they revealed will join the rest of the club in Dubai later this week. Pattinson previously had a stint with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), but, interestingly, never featured in a game for the two-time champions. Should Pattinson play a game this season, it will be his first-ever game in the T20 extravaganza.
“James is the right fit for us and adds to our pace attack options available at hand especially for the conditions we will play in this season," owner Akash Ambani was quoted as saying by the MI website.
Malinga’s absence will be a body blow to Mumbai Indians as with 170 wickets to his name, the Lankan legend is the highest wicket-taker of all time in the competition. It was the right-armer’s magic in the final ball of IPL 2019 that propelled the Rohit Sharma-led side to their record fourth IPL title.