Lasith Malinga, Sri Lanka’s champion fast bowler who single handedly won many a game of cricket for his country, resigned from playing International T20 cricket yesterday and with it closed a beautiful chapter in his country’s sporting history.
He had previously resigned from playing Test cricket 2011 and ODI cricket in 2019.
Malinga represented Sri Lanka in 30 Test Matches, 226 ODI’s and 84 T20I’s and took 101, 338 and 107 wickets respectively.
The ace paceman who besides being famous for hurling down toe crushing fast slinging square arm deliveries, will be best remembered when he took four wickets in four balls in the ICC World Cup against South Africa in 2007.
He repeated that same feat when he took another four in four against New Zealand at Pallekele in Kandy in 2019.
Malinga fetched many bowling records and firsts in his career, such as being the only bowler in the world to take three hat tricks in One Day International cricket.
However a world record which he proudly holds at present was not claimed with the ball but rather with his bat.
That is when he and Angelo Mathews put on a world record 9th wicket partnership of 132 runs in an ODI to win a game against Australia in 2010.
But leading Sri Lanka to victory in the ICC T20 World Cup final against India to will be the fondest moment of his career.
During the latter stages of his career ‘Slinger’ Malinga was more recognized as a franchise based cricketer, especially representing the Mumbai Indians at the IPL for over a decade.
He helped the Mumbai Indians to win 4 IPL titles in 2013,2015,2017 and 2019, besides winning 2 Champion League titles in 2011 and 2013.
Besides leaving behind a legendary status at his MI franchise where he took 170 wickets, Malinga also entertained many other franchise teams around the world.
He represented Kent in the English County Championship, the Amazon Warriors (Guyana), Khula Titans and Rangpur Riders in the Bangladesh Premier League, Jamaica Tallawahs and St. Lucia Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Maratha Arabians in the Abu Dhabi T10 League, Melbourne Stars in Australia’s Big Bash League and the Montreal Tigers at the Global T20 league in Canada.
Lasith Malinga will no doubt leave behind a legacy and a void that will be very hard to be filled.
He also leaves behind an impact and influence he had, especially on thousands of young kids all around the world, who role model after him donning lion mane hair wigs, tattoos and also slinging their arms whilst attempting to emulate him.
Lasith Malinga will surely be missed on the cricket field but his memories will last a lifetime and perhaps even more.