Malinga in IPL U-turn, to play domestic Sri Lanka tournament

The Sri Lankan pace ace, who was cleared last week by Sri Lanka Cricket to play the entire IPL for the Mumbai Indians, will head home on Wednesday for the Super Provincial One Day Tournament.

Lasith Malinga, who was cleared last week by Sri Lanka Cricket to play the entire IPL for the Mumbai Indians, will be heading home on Wednesday to feature in the Super Provincial One Day Tournament.   -  FILE PHOTO/ K. MURALI KUMAR

There’s a new twist to Lasith Malinga’s Indian Premier League tale. The Sri Lankan pace ace, who was cleared last week by Sri Lanka Cricket to play the entire tournament for the Mumbai Indians, will be heading home on Wednesday to feature in the Super Provincial One Day Tournament.

The four-team event, scheduled for April 4-11, is supposed to serve as Sri Lanka’s World Cup trials and Malinga will be leading the Galle team.

Follow the IPL

“Yes, he (Malinga) will be reaching Sri Lanka tomorrow and will be available for the provincial tournament,” Sri Lanka’s chief national selector Ashantha de Mel told Sportstar.

At the beginning of the IPL, there were reports that Malinga would skip the first six matches for the Mumbai Indians to play the Sri Lanka tournament. Last week, after a meeting with Malinga in Colombo, the SLC allowed him to feature in the IPL, stating that the “level of competition would be higher and help him prepare better for the big event.”

Mel admitted that it was Malinga who changed his mind. “He wanted to play the provincial tournament. Last week, we had agreed to release him for the entire IPL, but now he wants to play in this tournament,” he said.

Though the SLC remained mum, it is believed that Malinga wants to participate in the domestic competition as he has an eye on the Sri Lankan captaincy leading into the World Cup.

Malinga trained with Mumbai Indians on Tuesday and it was not clear whether he will be available for selection for Wednesday's fixture against Chennai Super Kings. Mumbai Indians batsman, Quinton de Kock, who addressed the media, said he was not sure about Malinga's availability.

In the provincial tournament, Galle's first match is on April 6