ICC T20 World Cup: Sri Lanka’s ace fast bowler Lasith Malinga hasn’t played competitive cricket since March 2020. Before that, he announced his retirement from ODI cricket while also pulled the curtain on franchise cricket (T20) including IPL. However, as per Sri Lanka Cricket’s chairman of the national selection committee Pramodya Wickramasinghe, Malinga is still in Sri Lanka’s plans and could still feature in T20Is apart from the ICC T20 World Cup scheduled for October this year. Malinga later confirmed the plans as well.
Wickramasinghe told Morning Sports that the national selection committee had invited Lasith Malinga to discuss his future plans. He said that the 37-year-old was still in their plans for upcoming T20Is and the World Cup.
“We will talk to Lasith soon. He is in our plans for the forthcoming T20 tours, including the T20 World Cup coming up in October. We are working out on a long-term plan aiming at the 2023 (50-over) World Cup. There, our main focus is to adjust ourselves to forming an accurate average in terms of two main aspects. Those are the age and the fitness,” Wickramasinghe said.
“We have found out that every successful team have a specific average on those two aspects. Our plan is to set those benchmarks in our preparations. But Lasith is also in our plans,” Wickramasinghe further explained.
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The last match Lasith Malinga played was back in March 2020 against West Indies at home in the T20Is. After pulling out of IPL 2020, he announced his retirement from franchise cricket heading into the IPL 2021 with Mumbai Indians releasing him ahead of the auctions. In IPL, Lasith Malinga has been the best bowler being the leading wicket-taker. In just 122 matches, he has scalped 170 wickets for Mumbai Indians since joining the team in the inaugural season of 2008.
With two ICC T20 World Cups scheduled for 2021 and 2022, Lasith Malinga is expected to return to Sri Lanka team in the coming matches.
“We always should not forget that he is one of the greatest bowlers in our country even in his present form. His records speak for that. There are two back-to-back T20 World Cups that are coming up, this year and next year. We are going to discuss our plans with him when we meet him in the next couple of days,” Wickramasinghe said.
Lasith Malinga confirmed that he hasn’t retired from the T20s and a comeback could be on the cards.
“I have retired from both Test and ODI cricket but not from T20s. I also am keen to know how the selection committee is going to get the services of a senior player like me for the national side. In my career, I have proved on many occasions that I can come back after a long break and perform well for my country,” Malinga said.
“Since last year, nobody had spoken to me to find out about my future plans. As a player, I have always respected the various policies of all selection panels that were there. They have those policies for a purpose. The present committee too could be having their own vision and plan. It is good if we can sit down and try to come to common understanding as to how to move forward,” Malinga added.