Veteran Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga will retire from fifty-over cricket after the first game of the three-match one-day international series against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka Cricket announced on Tuesday, 23 July.
Malinga, 35, was named in Sri Lanka's 22-member squad for the three ODIs against Bangladesh at Colombo's R Premadasa Stadium from 26 July. But, speaking to reporters on Monday, 22 July, skipper Dimuth Karunaratne indicated the former captain will make his last ODI appearance in the series.
Later in the day, the official announcement followed, adding that Malinga had "informed Sri Lanka Cricket that he is available for selections" in Twenty20 Internationals.
“Lasith Malinga is an exceptional player, who has contributed immensely to the game of cricket in Sri Lanka," Shammi Silva, the SLC president, said. "His departure from ODI cricket opens up a door for young bowlers to come and emulate what Malinga has done while playing for the country."
Malinga is Sri Lanka's third-highest wicket-taker in ODIs, with 335 wickets from 225 matches – only behind Chaminda Vaas (399) and Muttiah Muralitharan (523). He is 10th on the overall list and needs three more scalps to overhaul Anil Kumble's tally of 337. His farewell ODI at the R Premadasa Stadium will also give him the opportunity to complete 50 ODI wickets at the venue.
Known for his unusual, slingy action and pinpoint yorkers, Malinga, apart from his skills with the new ball, mastered the art of death bowling. He's the only bowler to have three ODI hat-tricks, two of which came in World Cups. In the 2007 edition of the marquee event, he picked up four wickets in consecutive balls in the Super Eight fixture against South Africa in Guyana – the only such instance of this happening in ODIs.
Playing his fourth and final World Cup in 2019, the Sri Lankan spearhead took 13 wickets from seven matches finishing as his team's leading wicket-taker at the showpiece event. His 4/43 at Headingley powered his team to a 20-run win over England, the eventual champions, and helped keep his team's semi-final hopes alive till the final matches of the round-robin stage.
With 56 scalps from 29 games, Malinga is the third-highest wicket-taker in World Cup history, behind Australia's Glenn McGrath (71) and fellow Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan (68).
Having led his team to the ICC T20 World Cup triumph in 2014, Malinga is expected to continue playing in the shortest format till the next edition of the tournament, which will be played in Australia next year. The Galle-born cricketer had retired from Test cricket in 2011, finishing with 101 wickets from 30 matches.
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