Malinga’s Descent Provides Breeding Ground For India’s Dominion In Ongoing ODI Series

| September 1 , 2017 , 15:41 IST

Virat Kohli – 131 (c) Dilshan Munaweera, (b) Lasith Malinga…And with that Lasith Malinga recorded his 300th ODI wicket. When Dilshan caught Kohli at the sweeper cover in the 30th over, the history books were rewritten. Malinga was a happy man, but more than that, his face exuberated reprieve. The 300th wicket came, but in its own sweet time.

When the series began, Malinga was only two short of the milestone. But it took him a little less than 150 deliveries with an economy of 6.00 in 4 ODIs to achieve the breakthrough. The Sri Lankan pacer hasn’t been at his ruthless best. The beast who was once known for his toe crushing yorkers has been reduced to a regular fast bowler. He has looked slack-spined throughout the series, especially at Colombo where he gave away 82 runs in 60 balls.

The decline of Lasith Malinga or ‘The Slinger’ is attributed to the 19-month long hiatus that he took, owing to his knee-injury. Compared to his 291 wickets in 191 matches which happened before the injury, he only has 9 wickets in 12 one day games with a meagre average of over 65, post his return. The struggle is clear. Things haven’t been rosy for him outside the ground too. After the Sri Lankan team was belittled for being unfit, the 34-year old got into a public spat with the sports minister.

Malinga has been the chief architect of Sri Lanka’s countless victories and has led the team’s bowling attack for the past many years. His miraculous spell fetched SL the 2014 T20 WC, their second ICC trophy after the 1996 World Cup. Unfortunately, injuries and age have caught up with him.

After notching up a hundred in the first ODI, when asked about his Sri-Lankan counterpart, Shikhar Dhawan said “He is a bit old now, and with time, I feel that his pace has gone down a bit too. That’s why we are able to attack him more, and as batsmen, that’s what we look at. This is natural though, because he has played so much cricket. It is just a cycle, life cycle.”

Malinga believes his future in world cricket needs to be seen in a new light, though he wants to play the 2019 WC. “No matter how experienced I am - if I can’t win a match for the team and do what the team needs, there’s no point in me being there. I’ll see if I can make up for that 19 months and regain that form over the next 3 or four months”, he said.

After Sri Lanka were crushed 3-0 in their home test, it was believed that Lasith Malinga who had retired from test cricket, will provide solidity to the ODI squad. However, the man seemed to have lost his mojo and couldn’t make much of a difference to his team, which is one of the reasons for Sri Lanka’s debacle in the ongoing series.