Post Sri Lankan batting’s spineless show against UAE, captain Lasith Malinga took charge with the ball and got the minnows rocking in his opening spell.
Malinga was returning from injury but his aggression was intact, his yorkers were finding their mark, and he was leading from the front. He wasn’t happy though, he expected better from himself. The coming two months could be the last one would see of Slinga Malinga, the man who intimidated the best in the world with his unorthodox action and fiery toe-crushers.
When asked whether he would hang his boots after the World T20, like his former teammates Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara did in 2014, Malinga had a cryptic reply with a smile: “There might be.”
The fast bowler is returning to the competitivefold following three months of knee injury and admitted it was tough to make a comeback. “I had a very bad injury in the knee. The same thing happened in 2008. I had to get two years’ rest for it to recover. Same injury has happened on the other leg,” he said. It was the injury which had prompted him to retire from Test cricket in 2011.
“But this is not the time to rest. We have the World Cup, and I am the experienced bowler in the national team in the T20 format, so whatever I can do, use painkiller or injection. This is the end of my career, so if I can do something for the team, I want to do the best I can for my team in these last few years or few months.”
Malinga was clear that if he plays, he would have to be at his best. "I don't know how many months or years I will play. (At the) end of my career, I try to play maximum number of games for my national team or in the IPL. I want to play as long as possible, and at my best.
"I am playing (for) 12 years in the national team, I am 32 years old. I think if now I have an injury, it is hard to get rest. If I take rest for a year or more, that's the end of my career. If I need to play for my country, I have to play tough cricket in the last few months or years. I don't think I can fully recover from this injury but I try to manage this in future.
His performance of 4-26 against UAE fetched his team 14-run victory and him the man of the match award. He, however felt he was far from his best. "I am not happy (with my performance today)," Malinga said.
"I haven't bowled a single ball in the last three months. I just bowled in the nets in the last two days. This performance is not my 100 percent, maybe 60-70 percent, but still I managed to bowl yorkers and slower balls. Team expects more than that from me."
DH News Service