Injured Malinga’s availability in IPL unknown

Uncertainty hovered around Lasith Malinga's availability for the IPL this season after he remained the only player not to have joined the Mumbai Indians preparation ahead of its tournament opener on Saturday.

Since November last year, Lasith Malinga has played one match for Sri Lanka, in the Asia CUP against UAE.   -  AP

The suspense over Lasith Malinga’s availability for the Indian Premier League’s ninth edition continued to prevail as the pace spearhead remained the only player not to have joined the Mumbai Indians preparation ahead of its tournament opener on Saturday.

While all the members of the 26-member Mumbai Indians squad slogged out at the Wankhede Stadium on a sultry Wednesday afternoon, Malinga was the only one missing from the session. The Mumbai Indians remained guarded about Malinga’s fitness status and availability for the IPL season. On the other hand, insiders in Sri Lanka Cricket said Malinga will most likely skip the initial phase of the extravaganza.

Two days before the Sri Lankan team’s arrival in India for the World Twenty20 last month, Malinga was replaced as captain. The veteran bowler, however, pulled out even before Sri Lanka’s disastrous campaign began, citing a knee injury.

Lack of clarity

Since then, Malinga hasn’t played a match. According to an insider in SLC, the Board is yet to hear from the player about his IPL plans.

Despite the lack of clarity from the Mumbai Indians camp, it was understood that the defending champions haven’t sought a replacement for Malinga. That indicates the player could well join the team sooner than later.

Despite being virtually done with his international cricket, Malinga continues to be a top draw in IPL. While the opposition batsmen struggle to pick his toe-crushing yorkers, the spectators at the Wankhede go berserk with merely a sight of the slingling bowler.