Sri Lanka’s ODI spearhead Lasith Malinga is set to return to international cricket in the ODI series against New Zealand that takes place in January 2015.
Malinga, who underwent a surgery on his troubled left ankle in September this year, missed the ODI series against India and England to get himself fit and ready for the World Cup. With New Zealand series scheduled just before the World Cup, there are high chances that Malinga will play the last two ODIs of the seven match series.
During an interview, Sri Lankan coach Marvan Atapattu was quoted in saying:
“Malinga is still recovering from surgery and everything is going well according to plan. He will return for the last two ODI games in New Zealand.”
Malinga till now has played 177 ODIs, in which he has taken 271 wickets at an average of 27.21.
Atapattu also backed out of form medium-pacer Nuwan Kulasekara in saying that he is still an integral part of their ODI setup and it’s just a matter of time before he strikes form.
“Kulasekera is going through the club season at the moment and he is working through his action [for] inswingers and outswingers with the coaches in the academy,” Atapattu said. “We didn’t want to rush him but give him plenty of confidence before he comes and plays.
“His greatest strength is to move the ball at the pace that he bowls at: 120-130. He lost a little of his natural swing in the latter part of the match he played against India lately. It was quickly identified by the bowler and he is doing some remedial work.”
Kulasekara has played 159 ODIs, in which he has taken 170 wickets at an economy rate of 4.78.
If both Malinga and Kulasekara stay in shape throughout the World Cup, Sri Lanka can stand a chance to win it and give a fitting farewell to Sangakkara and Jayawardene.
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