Sri Lanka’s Malinga to play T20s after quitting ODIs

Malinga invited fans to his farewell ODI at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Friday and said the cricket board agreed to his request to retire from the 50-over format of the game.

Lasith Malinga and Bangladesh bowling coach Champaka Ramanayake (right) during an one-day warm-up match between Sri Lanka Board President's XI and Bangladesh in Colombo on Tuesday.   -  AFP

Veteran Sri Lankan pace bowler Lasith Malinga Tuesday confirmed he will retire from one-day international cricket after the first match against Bangladesh but hopes to play T20 cricket.

Malinga invited fans to his farewell ODI at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Friday and said the cricket board agreed to his request to retire from the 50-over format of the game.

Posting a video message to his fans on his wife’s Facebook page, Malinga said he felt no ill will towards officials and players who may have tried to push him out of the team.

The 35-year-old said he was sidelined by selectors two years ago but was able to prove his value to the national team at the recent World Cup.

READ: Lasith Malinga to quit ODIs after first Bangladesh match

“Friday will be the last day you will see me playing a ODI match,” Malinga said. “If you can, please come for the match.” During practice Tuesday ahead of the first ODI against Bangladesh, Malinga said he hoped to play T20 cricket and had his sights on the 2020 World Cup in Australia.

“I hope to be able to take Sri Lanka to the next T20 World Cup,” he said.

“I hope I will have an opportunity to play in that tournament, but if there are better players than me, I don’t mind being left out.” Malinga’s retirement was first announced by skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, who on Monday told reporters the right-arm fast bowler indicated Friday’s match would be his last ODI appearance.

Malinga was named to the 22-man Sri Lanka squad for the series with matches scheduled for July 26, 28 and 31 at the R. Premadasa Stadium.

He will leave as Sri Lanka’s third-highest wicket-taker in ODI cricket with 335 wickets in 219 innings so far.

Only Muttiah Muralitharan (523) and Chaminda Vaas (399) have taken more wickets than Malinga in ODIs for Sri Lanka.

He was Sri Lanka’s highest wicket-taker at the World Cup, claiming 13 scalps in seven innings.

Malinga retired from Test cricket in 2011 but continued to remain available in other formats.