Mumbai Indians pacer Malinga likely to miss first few IPL matches

Lasit Malinga wants to be around his father who has not been keeping well for some time and may require surgery in the coming weeks.

Lasith Malinga has so far taken 170 wickets in 122 IPL matches.   -  K.R. Deepak

Veteran Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga is likely to be unavailable for the first few games of Mumbai Indians in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) due to personal reasons.

According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, the 36-year-old Malinga will not be travelling to the UAE, where the cash-rich league will be played from September 19 to November 10, as his father has not been keeping well for some time and may require surgery in the coming weeks.

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The seasoned fast bowler, who has produced match-winning efforts for both Sri Lanka and his IPL franchise, wants to be around his father while training in Colombo.

Malinga, who will turn 37 next week, last featured for Sri Lanka in a T20 International during the home series against West Indies in March this year, with his last ODI appearance coming more than a year ago.

Dogged by frequent knee injuries in recent times, the cricketer with a unique slinging action did not attend the residential conditioning camps that Sri Lanka Cricket organised in June and July.

Handed the ball for the final over of last year’s IPL title clash against Chennai Super Kings, Malinga defended eight runs to help Mumbai Indians register a record fourth triumph in the event.

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Malinga, who captained the Sri Lankan T20 World Cup winning side in 2014, has so far taken 170 wickets in 122 IPL matches at a fine average of 19.8 and an economy rate of 7.14.

In the franchise-based league, he has so far collected a five-for once and four-wicket hauls six times, with 5/13 being his best.

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