Ace Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga has said that he is mentally done and over with playing international cricket, and might come out with an announcement regarding his impending retirement soon. The veteran slinger also stated that he had been contemplating the move for quite some time now.
Malinga, who was appointed as a bowling mentor with the Mumbai Indians on Wednesday (February 7), went unsold at the recently held mega IPL auction in Bangalore last month, with none of the eight franchises showing an interest in signing the highest ever wicket-taker in the history of the Indian T20 cricket tournament.
The Sri Lankan pacer is one of the greatest death overs bowler that the world has ever seen and has been at the core of Mumbai Indians’ three IPL title wins and Sri Lanka’s triumph in the 2014 T20 World Cup. Currently in Switzerland to play in the St Moritz Ice Cricket Challenge, Malinga spoke to PTI in an exclusive interaction and said:
“Mentally I am over with playing cricket. I don’t think I will play any more international cricket. I am planning to announce my retirement soon.”
I have not spoken to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) but once I go back I will have to again go through the domestic grind, see how my body responds. But now as my IPL career is also over and I am starting a new chapter with Mumbai Indians, I might not play again,” he added.
Malinga also threw some light on the Mumbai Indians’ decision to not retain him for the upcoming edition of the IPL, a franchise which has been his home for the past decade.
“I was not surprised at their decision not to have retained me. I had 10 very good years with Mumbai Indians and I achieved a lot. But this year, the owners spoke to me and told me about their vision going forward. They wanted to create a good team for the next three years. I also understand that my time in competitive cricket is over now. Everyone gets that signal. Even the great Wasim Akram knew when his time was up,” he told PTI.
Moving on to discuss his plans for the future and life post cricket, Lasith Malinga reiterated that he is looking forward to a new chapter in his life, quite possibly as a cricket coach and mentor.
“I am 34-years-old and not getting any younger. And I feel this is the right time to make a career move. Mumbai Indians had the mentorship role in mind and I am happy to start a new inning. My job as a mentor will now give me an opportunity to guide the next crop of fast bowlers. I will pass on my knowledge to them and also it will be an opportunity to assess myself in the coaching arena,” Lasith Malinga said.
The wiry fast bowler last played any form of international cricket for Sri Lanka against India in September last year, proving to be extremely ineffective and well below his personal high standards. The Sri Lankan selectors have ignored him for selection in any format ever since.
Malinga acknowledged the same and further revealed his admiration for fellow Mumbai Indians bowler Jasprit Bumrah, and being a witness to his growth as one of the top death-over bowlers going around world cricket at present.
“Bumrah has emerged as a great death bowler. He has the skill sets which I also had — bowling at the death overs under pressure. For that you need a different temperament as IPL is a high-pressure tournament,” he said.
“What makes me even more proud is the fact that he has transformed his IPL success into international cricket. I was so happy to see him perform so well in South Africa. His biggest quality is the ability to be consistent.”