Concerns have been raised over the current showing of Lasith Malinga in the on-going Indian Premier League (IPL) where his performances in six matches have been below expectations.
Compared to his previous performances, Malinga has taken just six wickets from six matches as he went wicketless in two matches.
Playing for the Mumbai Indians, Malinga has also conceded 13 sixes in the six matches he has played in while on two occasions his quota of four overs brought him figures of 1 for 51 and 0 for 58.
In contrast, Andrew Tye another fast bowler, who has also played six matches in the IPL as Malinga has done, has double the number of wickets (12) at an economy rate of 6.71.
Tye, an Australian, plays for the Gujarate Lions.
Malinga’s economy rate stands at 9.95.
Malinga has been selected to the 15-man Sri Lanka squad for the Champions Trophy and has come under intense scrutiny in the IPL where he has also not being part of the Mumbai Indians playing-eleven on four occasions.
“We know that Malinga cannot be what he was say three or four years ago as his career is coming to an end like everyone else. We can only hope that what is left of him will be enough for Sri Lanka to do something at the Champions Trophy”, said a Sri Lanka Cricket official who did not wish to be named.
At age 33, Malinga has not played in an ODI since November 2015 and the Champions Trophy starting on June 1 could be a series that may reveal how much cricket is there left in him.
Sri Lanka is listed to take on South Africa on June 3, India on June 8 and Pakistan on June 12 in the qualifying round matches at the Champions Trophy ahead of the semi finals.
If one man is confident that Malinga can come through in the Champions Trophy, it is none other than Thilanga Sumathipala the current head of Sri Lanka Cricket.
“Malinga has got his medical clearance to bowl 10 overs. We need to build him up to bowl 10 overs now. He’s playing in the IPL, which is to our advantage, because he’s in a top-class cricketing environment and he’s practising. Right now we are getting reports that he’s going into eight overs in a spell. We have to make sure he’s fit to bowl 10 by about the 10th of May”, Sumathipala has been quoted as saying following Malinga’s selection.
The other fast bowlers in the team are Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Thisara Perera and Nuwan Pradeep Fernando.