Lasith Malinga‘s career has taken a turn for the worse since he returned to action following a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
The pacer has looked like a pale shadow of his former self since returning after a 19-month ODI layoff during the Champions Trophy.
The 34-year old, who had also led Sri Lanka in one of the games during the ODI series against India, had managed to pick up just ten wickets in 13 games at a paltry average of 62.30 since his comeback including the poor series against India at home where he took only three wickets in as many games. In T20 Internationals, he picked up 12 wickets in 6T20Is, at an economy rate of 8.25
He has not been included in the national team since the series against India and received yet another big blow after being ignored for the preliminary 23-man squad to tour Bangladesh next month. What is even more confusing that the selectors have reiterated that Malinga has been rested and not dropped, a reason that has not gone down well with the veteran bowler.
The 34-year old questioned the team management’s decision to rest a player who does not have much time left in his career.
“If they pick me I’m ready, but the reason for why I haven’t been picked is what I’m still waiting for,” 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?,” Malinga told ESPNcricinfo.
The right-arm pacer, who had led Sri Lanka to the World T20 title in 2014, went on to admit that he did not perform as per expectations but rued the dropped catches off his bowling.
“I picked up 10 wickets in the 13 matches I played after returning from injury,” Malinga said. “For the 14 years I’ve been playing cricket, it’s the first year in which I haven’t been able to pick up many wickets. And in those 13 matches, 12 catches have been dropped off my bowling. But in the end, the man who bowled the ball to create a catching opportunity is out.
“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 added.
Meanwhile, Malinga recently played for Rangpur Riders in the Bangladesh Premier League but could not deliver as per his standards. In 8 innings, he picked up 8 wickets at an economy rate of 8.61.
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