Centurion (South Africa), Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga has announced his decision to retire from international cricket after next year’s Twenty20 World Cup.
The 35-year-old Sri Lankan cricketer also ruled himself out of the first six games in IPL 2019 in a bid to make it to his country’s World Cup squad. “After the World Cup, my cricketing career is ending”, he said on Friday.
Malinga said that he would quit one-day internationals after the World Cup in England and Wales this summer before calling time on his career following the Twenty20 tournament, being played in Australia over October-November 2020. “I want to play in the T20 World Cup and then end my career.”
He also said after his his side were beaten by 16 runs by South Africa in the second Twenty20 international at SuperSport Park.
Malinga dismissed South African top-scorer Reeza Hendricks for 65 on Friday, his 97th T20 international wicket. He is one short of the world record of 98 held by Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi.
Malinga told ESPN cricinfo, “I had asked the board for the No-Objection Certificate for me to play in the IPL, and they had said that was fine, but that all players who want to go to the World Cup would need to stay back for the provincial tournament.”
Malinga will be participating in Sri Lanka’s Super Provincial One-Day domestic tournament, slated from from April 4 to April 11, in an attempt to make it to the World Cup team.
“So, I told them I’d play in the provincial tournament, and I asked the board to inform Mumbai Indians and IPL, since it was their decision. I’m ok with losing those earnings from IPL. I’m doing it for the country,” said the Sri Lankan, who was bought by Mumbai Indians for Rs 2 crore.
Malinga also suggested that his franchise should replace him with someone else. “Once I become available for Mumbai Indians, I would have missed seven or eight games,” he said.
“So there’s probably no point in them waiting around for me. Better for them to find someone else to replace me with.”
The 35-year-old Sri Lankan cricketer is currently the ODI captian and it is highly likely that he would be picked in Sri Lanka’s World Cup squad.