Legendary Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga has put an end to his illustrious T20 career as he announced his retirement from franchise cricket. Malinga had already informed Mumbai Indians' team management about his decision and following that, he wasn't retained by the franchise as revealed on Wednesday.
Lasith Malinga, who has already retired from Test and ODI cricket respectively, will now no longer play franchise cricket as well. And it was his decision to bid adieu to franchise cricket that propelled Mumbai Indians to release him from their squad on Wednesday. The legendary Lankan pacer had made himself unavailable and informed the franchise about the same, earlier this month. Yesterday, Mumbai Indians like other IPL sides had announced their club’s retention squad.
Mumbai Indians owner Akash Ambani stated that he would have liked Malinga to be part of his side for at least 'five' more years but he respects his decision. He also added that Malinga is a Mumbai Indians legend and will always be part of the MI family as he has been an 'invaluable' part of their journey.
“Lasith Malinga has been at the core of Mumbai Indians for 12 years. We respect his decision, even though I would have liked him to be part of our bowling attack for another 5 years,” Akash Ambani said, reported mumbaiindians.com.
“Malinga is an MI legend. His contributions to Mumbai Indians’ journey are invaluable. We will miss the Wankhede chant for him, but he will always be in the heart of all MI fans. At Mumbai Indians, Malinga will always be a part of the MI family and we hope we can continue to lean on his experience in a non-playing capacity in the future.”
Malinga, who first played IPL in 2009 edition ended up with 170 wickets from 122 matches with an economy rate of 7.14. He last featured in the IPL in 2019 and played only for MI throughout his IPL career. Malinga revealed that given the travel restrictions in the world right now owing to COVID, he was unlikely to play in franchise cricket for an year or so and that's why decided to quit.
"After discussing with family, I think now is the right time to retire from all franchise cricket. The Pandemic situation and the restrictions on travel will make it difficult for me given my personal circumstances to participate fully in franchise cricket for the next year and therefore it is best to make this decision now," Malinga said.
“I have discussed the same with Mumbai Indians management in recent days as they prepare for the upcoming auction and they have been very supportive and understanding. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Ambani family, everyone at the Mumbai Indians franchise and all our fans for the wonderful 12 years."
The veteran T20 pacer, who has been known as death-overs specialist over the years, also added that MI have always treated him like their own and thanked the likes of Nita Ambani, Mahela Jayawardene and Akash Ambani.
“Mumbai Indians has treated me like family, supporting me 100 % in every situation both on and off the field, and always giving me the confidence and the freedom to play my natural game whenever I walked onto the field.
“I have collected so many happy memories that I cherish and I am very grateful to have played for so long for the best franchise in world cricket. I would like to wish Mrs Nita Ambani, coach Mahela (Jayawardene), Akash (Ambani) and the MI family all the best for the upcoming season.”
You gave us 170 moments to celebrate. But the most memorable ones came on the final ball of the match. You smiled, you bowled, you won and for that we say #ThankYouMalinga 💙— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) January 20, 2021
Malinga has featured for Jamaica Tallawahs, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Khulna Tigers, Rangpur Riders and Melbourne Stars when it comes to T20 franchise cricket and scalped 390 wickets in 295 matches. He's the second leading-wicket-taker in T20 cricket.