Despite becoming only the eighth fast-bowler to breach the 300-wicket mark in One-Day Internationals, Lasith Malinga has said he will assess his future in the coming months after Sri Lanka were thrashed by a huge margin of 168 runs in the fourth One-Day International against India on Thursday (August 31).
Malinga has looked like a pale shadow of his former self since returning to 50-over cricket after a 19-month injury layoff. Prior to the fourth ODI, he had managed to just 8 wickets in 11 games and has been severely criticised for his indifferent showing. And amidst all these, he got a little opportunity to celebrate when he dismissed India skipper Virat Kohli to become the latest entrant in the 300 club. But despite sealing his legacy as one of the finest bowlers from the Island nation, Malinga has admitted that he will assess his future soon after his recent performances.
“I’m playing after 19 months following a leg injury,” said Malinga after the game. “In the Zimbabwe and India series I couldn’t play well. I’ll see where I’m at after this series, and evaluate how long I can play given the way my body is.
“No matter how experienced I am, if I can’t win a match for the team and do what the team needs, there’s no point in me being here. I’ll see if I can make up for that 19 months and regain that form over the next three or four months. I’ll see the number of games that I get. If not I’ll have to consider the state of my body, and what is expected of me. If I can’t deliver that, then I’ll happily retire,” he added.
The heavy loss not only piled more misery on the Islanders but also ended their hopes of securing an automatic spot for the next World Cup. Currently ranked eighth in ODIs, the hosts needed to win 2 of the five games but have not managed to win even one and are now looking set to get whitewashed after losing the fourth ODI.
Malinga, meanwhile, lamented the lack of experience in the team after the heavy defeat but at the same time urged patience with the inexperienced players.
“When you look at other teams, you can think about how many of their players have played a lot of matches. If you take our 11 cricketers, how many ODIs have they played? I think we are lacking experience. Except for Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne and myself, others have played very little. That’s why when a difficult situation comes and we’re playing against a good team, we find it hard to come out of that. Now we need to give these guys a place and experience until 2019. We need to be patient,” he said.
After conceding 375, Sri Lanka’s batsmen once again failed to come good with the bat as they posted their lowest total in the series. The hosts were bowled out for just 207 and suffered their heaviest defeat at home.
“In our earlier teams, you had players who had played a 100 ODIs, or at least 50 ODIs. We need that. Every other team in the world has that experience in their side. We need to get there. We need to give the young players some more matches and get them to the place we need them to be. That’s what’s important,” concluded Malinga.