Veteran Lankan seamer Lasith Malinga will end his ODI career on Jul 26 when Sri Lanka play Bangladesh in the first game of a three-match series. However, he will continue to be available for T20 cricket.
Sri Lanka will play three matches against Bangladesh on Jul 26, 28 and 31 at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo but Malinga will only appear in the first one, a decision he reached during the World Cup in England, reports Lankan news outlet The Sunday Times.
Even though selectors have asked him to play the entire series, Malinga confirmed the Lankan media outlet, that he will step out after the first game as feels tired.
He leaves as Sri Lanka’s third highest wicket-taker in ODI cricket with a current tally of 335 wickets in 219 innings, but more significantly he will be remembered as a mercurial talent who captivated the cricketing world with his unique bowling action. Only Muttiah Muralidaran (523) and Chaminda Vaas (399) have taken more ODI wickets than Malinga.
At 36, Malinga was Sri Lanka’s top wicket-taker at the World Cup, claiming 13 scalps in seven innings and could have continued for a few more years in the format. But he believes it is the right time to leave, giving selectors space to nurture fresh talent leading up to the next World Cup.
One of just seven Sri Lankan bowlers to capture 100 or more wickets in Test cricket, Malinga battled a chronic knee injury for a prolonged period during his career and was forced to retire from the longer format in 2011 at the age of 27 to extend his presence in white-ball cricket.
Discovered in his teens by former Sri Lanka bowling coach Champaka Ramanayake playing soft-ball cricket in Ratgama, Malinga became an instant hit with his unconventional bowling action. He then developed a yorker that terrified even the world’s most technically correct batsmen. It was the hallmark of his career.
Even though players in the calibre of Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, and Tillakaratne Dilshan played significant roles in Sri Lanka’s excellent run in global tournaments from 2007-2014, the contribution made by Malinga is unquestionable.
He is the only man to have three hat-tricks in ODI cricket, including four off four balls leading Sri Lanka to the brink of victory against South Africa in the 2007 World Cup.