Lasith Malinga retires from franchise cricket

Sri Lanka pace ace Lasith Malinga has decided to retire from franchise cricket, and won’t be available for the Indian Premier League.

Lasith Malinga was an integral part of Mumbai Indians.   -  Sportzpics / BCCI

Sri Lanka pace ace Lasith Malinga has decided to retire from franchise cricket, and won’t be available for the Indian Premier League.

The Sri Lankan speedster informed his decision to the Mumbai Indians management earlier this month, making himself unavailable for the champion side's retention wish list.

“Mumbai Indians management respects Lasith Malinga's decision and hence he is not part of the club's 18-member retention squad announced today,” the franchise said in a statement.

On his decision, Lasith Malinga said: “After discussing with family, I think now is the right time to retire from all franchise cricket. The pandemic situation and the restrictions on travel will make it difficult for me given my personal circumstances to participate fully in franchise cricket for the next year and therefore it is best to make this decision now.

“I have discussed the same with Mumbai Indians management in recent days as they prepare for the upcoming auction and they have been very supportive and understanding. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Ambani family, everyone at the Mumbai Indians franchise and all our fans for the wonderful 12 years,” Malinga, who has been an integral part of the IPL, said.

“Mumbai Indians has treated me like family, supporting me 100 % in every situation both on and off the field, and always giving me the confidence and the freedom to play my natural game whenever I walked onto the field…”

Malinga, who has played a staggering 122 IPL matches, has 170 wickets to his credit, the highest in the cash-rich league, with the best bowling figures of 5-13. He missed out on IPL in 2020 citing personal reasons. The franchise replaced him with James Pattinson.

“I have collected so many happy memories that I cherish and I am very grateful to have played for so long for the best franchise in world cricket. I would like to wish Mrs Nita Ambani, coach Mahela (Jayawardene), Akash (Ambani) and the MI family all the best for the upcoming season,” Malinga said.

Akash Ambani, the owner of Mumbai Indians, said: “Malinga has been at the core of Mumbai Indians for 12 years. We respect his decision, even though I would have liked to him to be part of our bowling attack for another 5 years."

"Malinga is an MI legend. His contributions to Mumbai Indians' journey are invaluable. We will miss the Wankhede chant for him, but he will always be in the heart of all MI fans. At Mumbai Indians, Malinga will always be a part of the MI family and we hope we can continue to lean on his experience in a non-playing capacity in the future."

In the past, Malinga had worked with the franchise as a bowling coach.

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