Malinga may miss ODIs against NZ

The fast bowler has recovered yet from a knee injury he sustained in West Indies' visit of Sri Lanka in October and November, and may miss the entire One-Day International series against New Zealand. Sri Lanka play five one-dayers against New Zealand in a series beginning December 26.

Lasith Malinga sustained the knee injury in West Indies' tour of Sri Lanka in October and November.   -  AP

Lasith Malinga, Sri Lanka’s leader of the limited-overs’ bowling attack, has not been able to recover from a knee injury he sustained in West Indies’ tour of Sri Lanka, and will not feature, at the least, in the first two One-Day Internationals (ODIs) against New Zealand. Malinga is still in Sri Lanka, and may miss the entire ODI series. The first ODI of the five-match series is on Boxing Day in Christchurch.

In his absence, all-rounder Thisara Perera has been drafted into the squad for the Christchurch ODI.

“He has not come for the ODIs,” team manager Jerry Woutersz said as quoted by ESPNcricinfo. “He's feeling some discomfort in his knee. Whether he will come between the ODIs and T20s - no one knows.”

“What a contributor Malinga has been over a number of years for Sri Lanka,” Craig McMillan, New Zealand’s batting coach, said. “He has been their key fast bowler. He's a handful. I'm sure they'll miss him, but it gives an opportunity to some other younger guys in the squad.”

Sri Lanka are also suffering from the absence of fast bowler Dhammika Prasad, due to injury, and wicketkeeper Kusal Perera, who has been suspended due to an anti-doping ban by the International Cricket Council (ICC).