Lasith Malinga, the veteran Sri Lankan pacer, on Thursday (February 8) dropped elaborate hints about his retirement plans, saying he was mentally done with international cricket.
Malinga, who went unsold in the 2018 Indian Premier League auction, was on Wedesday roped in by Mumbai Indians, his former franchise, as their bowling mentor. The IPL’s highest wicket-taker with 157 scalps, Malinga was bought by Mumbai in 2009 and went on to win three titles with them.
“Mentally, I am over with playing cricket,” Malinga told Press Trust of India on the sidelines of the St Moritz Ice Cricket Challenge. “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.”
The Sri Lankan slinger said he was not surprised that Mumbai didn’t retain him for the 11th edition of the IPL as his days of competitive cricket were behind him. “Everyone gets that signal. Even the great Wasim Akram knew when his time was up,” he said.
“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.”
Malinga, who has not represented Sri Lanka since September 2017, has 338 wickets in 248 Twenty20 matches, making him the second-highest wicket-taker in the format. He felt this was the right time for him to make a career move. “I am 34 years old and not getting any younger,” Malinga pointed out.
“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 innings. 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.” (wisdenindia)