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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Malinga grateful to IPL for his cricket comeback

The charismatic Sri Lankan fast bowler, Lasith Malinga, felt disappointed by his country’ s board when he was not looked after well and did not get treatment after his knee injury, which could have finished his career.

Malinga claims that it was only because of the Indian Premier League (IPL) he was able to come back to the cricket fields again.

He sustained an injury in early 2008, which kept him out of the game, and, he was unable to play for Sri Lanka until August, 2009 and he pretended that could have been the end of his career.

He appeared in the IPL in 2009, got back his confidence by gaining rhythm and was able to grab 18 wickets representing Mumbai Indians. His performance brought him back in the limelight and he was selected to represent his country again.

"Because of the IPL I got a chance to come back to the national team", he said at a media conference in Colombo. "After the injury nobody looked after me and I was not offered a contract. The 2008 interim committee did not care for my well-being. But thanks to the IPL I didn't lose anything but I improved my cricket a lot. I'm saddened the way I was treated but not disappointed".

Malinga has announced his retirement from Test cricket and will be concentrating on the shorter versions of the game for IPL and his country. Earlier, Sri Lanka’s cricket board had asked all their players participating in the IPL to report back in preparation with the forthcoming tour of England.

Quite a few players left back as Malinga continued playing in IPL and informed the Board that he will be available for One Day Internationals (ODI) and T20 matches.

He reiterated that he was fit enough to play Test cricket but it will take a long time to recover if he suffers an injury again, while it is easy to recover if he gets an injury in an ODI or T20 match.

"My doctors in Australia had said that mine was a rare type of injury and that I would not be able to play again. But thanks to President Mahinda Rajapaksa's private physician, Dr Eliyantha White, who treated me, I was able to play for the national team again.

Malinga responded to undue criticism going on in the news that he was declining to play for Sri Lanka, as there was more money involved in IPL. He stressed that the retirement from Test has nothing to do with money, as he wants to concentrate on shorter phases of cricket and don’t want to grab an injury again, which can put him away from the game forever.

He has taken 101 wickets in Test cricket, 127 in ODIs and 35 in T20 cricket, while representing his country and he is only the third player to pocket 100 wickets for Sri Lanka in Test cricket after Muttiah Muralitharan (800) wickets and Chaminda Vaas, who has grabbed 355 wickets.

Malinga commented that it was a matter of great honour to play for his country and he anticipates a dedicated performance in the 2012 T20 World Cup and the ICC World Cup 2015.

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