Malinga announced his retirement from T20I cricket on September 14, 2021, after retiring from Tests in 2011, ODIs in 2019, and franchise cricket in January.
“Hanging up my #T20 shoes and #retiring from all forms of cricket! Thankful to all those who supported me in my journey, and looking forward to sharing my experience with young cricketers in the years to come,” Mali captioned it in his farewell video.
Lasith Malinga was born on August 28, 1983, in Galle, Sri Lanka’s Southern Province. When Malinga was a student at Vidyaloka College in Galle, he was discovered and trained by Champaka Ramanayake, a former Sri Lankan cricketer. Champaka assisted him in joining the Mahinda College cricket team, which turned out to be a pivotal moment in his career. Malinga’s natural bowling action was also something he admired. He made his international cricket debut against Australia in 2004 when he was just 21 years old. He picked up six wickets and left every Australian batsman indifferent in his first match against Australia. With his dangerous in-swingers and quick bouncers, he quickly earned a reputation for troubling the opposing batsman. His bowling speed used to be between 140 and 150 kph when he was younger. Sir Viv Richards later praised him for his distinctive round-arm bowling style, which earned him the moniker ‘Slinga Malinga.’
Despite many wounds for which he must step down from his captain’s position in the T20 world cup team, Malinga has a significant number of both test and ODI records until now, such as being the only one to be the single bowler in ODI cricket history, with two world cup hat tricks. Sri Lankan cricket team won the ICC World T20 2014 under its command. He received the 2015 SLC ODI Dialog and the 2015 T20 Bowler. He was credited for five in-house wickets in three test matches and seven ODI matches. He was also appointed by the ICC as the official T20 World Championship event ambassador.
In one day international cricket Lasith Malinga in Sri Lanka was the first one to take four wickets in four balls. He become the first player to take hat tricks in ODI cricket during the 2007 Cricket World Cup Super 8 match between Sri Lanka and South Africa. It was only the fifth trick in the history of the World Cup, Sri Lanka’s third trick and ODI’s 24th overall. In 2011 he made hat trips to Kenya and Australia and became the first bowler to take three tricks for the World Cup. He was also named by Cricinfo at the 2007 World Cup in the ‘Team of the Tournament. ‘In a packed house with banners citing ThankYou Mali, Our Slinga Our Pride, he played his final ODI in first ODI against Bangladesh at R Premadasa Stadium on 26 July 2019. Scored six runs unbeatable in the match. With this ball, Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar were sent to dismiss him. In its final ODI, Mustafizur Rahman’s wicket was finished by 338 dismissals to overpass Anil Kumble as the ninth highest wicket-taker in ODIs. The ICC Men’s ODI and T20I Decade Cricketer Awards were named for Malinga in November 2020. Malinga left all cricket forms on 14 September 2021 and completed his career in T20Is with 107 wickets as the leading wicket taker.
At the CLT20 cricket tournament Mali chose the Indians of Mumbai over Southern Express. In December 2012, Melbourne Stars against Perth Scorchers had 6/7 of the best bowling figures ever. He also represented Kent Spitfires in the 2007 T20 English competition. He was an international player. He was the highest wicket winner in the 2011 Champions League Twenty 20 and won the tournament player. Due to his ineffective bowling in the recent past, Malinga did not buy Mumbai Indians in the IPL Auctions in 2018. In the IPL and the Champions League T20, He played 127 matches for the Indians from Mumbai and is the top wicket player with 179 scalps, with an economy of 6,88.He had been named in the all-time Cricinfo IPL XI on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the IPL.
In his goodbye video, he mentioned “Today is a very special day for me. I want to thank each one of you who have supported me throughout my T20 career. Today I have decided to give 100 per cent rest to my T20 bowling shoes .I want to thank Sri Lanka cricket board, Mumbai Indians, Melbourne Stars, Kent Cricket Club, Rangpur Riders, Guyana Warriors, Maratha Warriors and Montreal Tigers. I now want to share my experience with young cricketers who want to play franchise cricket and for their national team. While my shoes rest, my love for the game will never ask for rest. Looking forward to seeing our youngsters make history.”
Mali your contribution to Sri Lanka and world cricket will stand for all time. We will miss your curly coloured hair bouncing up and down while you run for the fast pace ball. All the best in your future endeavours.
By – Radhika Peiris