Indian Premier League franchise Mumbai Indians has named Australian speedster James Pattinson as a replacement for Lasith Malinga for this year’s Twenty20 tournament in the United Arab Emirates.
One of the key members of the team, Malinga will be unavailable because of ‘personal reasons’ and will be with his family back in Sri Lanka. Pattinson will join the team in Abu Dhabi this weekend. Pattinson has previously played for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the IPL.
Owner Akash Ambani welcomed James on board and extended all support to Malinga.
“James is the right fit for us and adds to our pace attack options available at hand especially for the conditions we will play in this season in UAE,” Ambani said in a statement.
“Lasith is a legend and a pillar of MI’s strength. There is no denying the fact that we will miss Lasith’s cricketing acumen this season. However, we fully understand Lasith’s need to be in Sri Lanka with his family during this time. Mumbai Indians is founded on the values of ‘One Family’ and for us the members of our squad and their well-being will always hold utmost importance.”
Malinga is the highest wicket-taker in the IPL history with 170 scalps. It will only be the second time in IPL’s history that its most successful outfit will be without Malinga.
The slinging pacer missed the inaugural IPL due to an injury. Despite being ruled out of the 2018 edition, Malinga was roped in as a bowling coach by MI. However, he made a remarkable return last year. His tally of 16 wickets, albeit at a high economy rate of 9.76, was a critical aspect of MI winning a record fourth title.
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