Without Lasith Malinga in the side, the Sri Lankan bowlers went for plenty in almost all games in the recently concluded limited over series against subcontinent nations Pakistan and India.
The selectors used the term “rested” when inquired of the slinga’s absence from the T20 Squad to India. However, the senior bowler was not picked for the 23 member preliminary pool to play in the tri series against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe later this month.
Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Gamage and Dushmantha Chameera gave minimal support to Suranga Lakmal and Angelo Mathews who showed a bit of promise in limited overs cricket. Whereas Lasith Malinga’s experience would have been ideal for the young side.
Rohit Sharma cheerfully greeted the juicy full tosses delivered by the ordinary Sri Lankan attack and posted a score of over 200, taking his side to a mammoth total of over 350 in ODIs and 260 in T20 Cricket. Malinga would have been the ideal show-stopper with his cutters, slower balls and deadly yorkers.
Despite not being picked to tour Bangladesh, Malinga practiced with coach Chandika Hathurusingha but as a net bowler, clueless of why he’s being rested.
“I came because, when I started playing cricket whenever there was a national team practice they needed net bowlers. I came in the capacity of a net bowler,” said Malinga to ESPN Cricinfo.
“Usually it’s a player who is 25 or 26 that needs to be rested because they still have a lot of cricket left in them. But for someone of my age, from what I know, there’s really no purpose in being rested. We can only play cricket for another one or two years anyway, but if we’re rested then we won’t get to play cricket, so what’s the point?”, he rightfully added.
Lasith Malinga did go for a few runs in the recent past but not to an extent where he deserved to be dropped from the limited over side. Malinga was brilliant in the ICC Champions Trophy and almost guided Sri Lanka through to the semi finals of the tournament, if not for Shafraz Ahmed’s missed opportunity.
“If someone wants to talk about my performances then I’m more than willing to have that conversation. But as far as being left out of the team, all I can say is that I’ve been playing cricket for several years, I’ve played under the most number of selectors. And a cricketer’s next opportunity at being selected really does depend on which set of selectors are in place at any given time,” he concluded.
Lasith Malinga’s aim is to play for the 2019 Cricket World Cup and if selected, it would be a treat to watch the slinga back in national colours.
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