Veteran Sri Lanka bowler Lasith Malinga is set to hang his boots in international cricket after the first ODI of the upcoming three-match series against Bangladesh at home. The ODI would take place in Colombo on July 26. Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne confirmed the news in a press conference on July 22.
Lasith Malinga’s retirement was very much on the cards. During the tour of South Africa earlier this year, he had hinted that he would retire at the end of the World Cup. But perhaps the temptation of bowing out in front of the home crowd made him delay his retirement for a while.
“He is going to play the first match. After that he is retiring. That’s what he said to me. I don’t know what he said for the selectors but for me he said he is playing only one match,” Karunaratne said.
If Malinga retires after the first ODI, he will bow out as the third-highest wicket taker in the format for Sri Lanka. The right-arm pacer has so far picked up 335 wickets. Overall, he is tenth in the list of most wicket-takers in ODIs. Malinga will have a chance to move past India’s Anil Kumble who has 337 wickets.
A wicket in the game would also help him take his wickets tally in Colombo to 50. But irrespective of the result, Malinga would go down in history as one of the finest limited-overs bowlers to have represented Sri Lanka. The last couple of years did not go on the expected lines but Malinga’s contribution cannot be undermined.
He fought against all the odds to spearhead Sri Lanka’s attack in the 2019 World Cup. His finest bowling performance came against hosts and eventual winners against England when he picked up 4 for 43. His spell helped Sri Lanka stun England as the Islanders defended a modest 232.
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