IPL 2019: Mumbai Indians Still Hopeful Of Lasith Malinga’s Participation
Mahela Jayawardene, Mumbai Indians head coach, has said the team is still hoping to stick with their veteran pacer Lasith Malinga and have him play the entire IPL. Malinga has himself said that he would not be able to play at least the first six games of this season. With the Sri Lankan selectors making it mandatory for the players to play in the Super Provincial One Day domestic tournament in order to be considered for the World Cup selection, Malinga has decided to give almost the first half of the league a miss.
According to a report in ESPNCricinfo, Malinga has also told Mumbai Indians to find a replacement if they need it as he will be out for over a third of the season.
“I had asked the board for the No-Objection Certificate for me to play in the IPL, and they had said that was fine, but that all players who want to go to the World Cup would need to stay back for the provincial tournament,” Malinga told ESPNcricinfo.
“So I told them I’d play in the provincial tournament, and I asked the board to inform Mumbai Indians and IPL, since it was their decision. I’m ok with losing those earnings from IPL. I’m doing it for the country,” added Lasith Malinga.
However, Jayawardene has now claimed that Mumbai Indians weren’t informed of Malinga’s lack of availability during this phase. He also said that there should be some communication between the concerned parties to get to a final decision.
“We need to gather our thoughts and see,” Jayawardene told reporters in Mumbai on Sunday. “If you read the entire thing, the tournament is for four or five days in April, so till that time there’s availability. When we got him in the auction, SLC gave us his availability schedule, that tournament wasn’t part of that. So there is a conversation to be made and once we get through that conversation we’ll let you know. It’s way too early for us to comment on whether he’s going to be unavailable or whatever. We’ll see what happens.”
Losing an experienced and proven campaigner like Malinga would be a mighty blow for Mumbai Indians as they look to bounce back this season after failing to make it to the playoffs last year. So far, Malinga has played 127 games for Mumbai Indians in the IPL and Champions League T20 and is the highest-wicket taker for the franchise with 179 scalps at an economy rate of 6.88. With 154 wickets, he is also the highest wicket-taker in the history of the IPL.
😮 The energy levels in the MI camp are blowing off the roof 📈
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) March 23, 2019
Jayawardene also confirmed that New Zealand pacer Adam Milne has been ruled out of the IPL as he was not fully fit. The legendary batsman further confirmed that the team is yet to decide on a replacement.
“I think Adam, we were waiting on his fitness, because he had an injury four weeks back. So we needed to wait for his recovery and progress. We had to report two days back that he’s not 100% and he might not be able to be part of an extended IPL. So, we’ve realised that we need a replacement. We’re considering that, but we’ve got enough resources so we’ll wait on it,” said Jayawardene.
Mumbai Indians, meanwhile, open their campaign against Delhi Capitals on March 24 at the Wankhede Stadium.
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