Sri Lanka pacer Lasith Malinga has decided to hang up his boots in T20I cricket, and from all forms of cricket after terrorizing the world’s best batsmen for over a decade and a half with his toe-crushing yorkers delivered from a low and distinct sling-arm action.
The pacer made this announcement on his social media channels. Malinga played 30 Test matches, 226 ODIs, and 84 T20Is for Sri Lanka, picking up 546 wickets. A white ball legend in his own right and one of the greatest T20 bowlers, the 38-year-old was captain of Sri Lanka’s 2014 T20 World Cup-winning team. He posted a message on his social media account announcing his decision.
Malinga last played a T20I match for Sri Lanka in March 2020 against West Indies in Pallekele. Malinga, one of the best T20 bowlers of all time, was a key figure in the teams he played for in the Indian Premier League, the Big Bash League, the Caribbean Premier League, and other franchise tournaments. In a glorious international career, Malinga experienced some incredible highs representing the Sri Lankan national team. Malinga led his side to glory in the 2014 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Bangladesh.
A fearsome pacer known for his menacing yorkers, Malinga is the leading wicket-taker in T20I cricket with 107 scalps. Malinga also has two T20I hat-tricks to his name. Malinga also picked up three hat-tricks in ODI cricket, with his performance against South Africa in the 2007 World Cup in West Indies etched in history. Malinga retired from Test cricket in 2011, to work on his fitness and concentrate on the shorter formats of the game.
His statement on Twitter read: “Hanging up my T20shoes and retiring from all forms of cricket! Thankful to all those who supported me in my journey, and looking forward to sharing my experience with young cricketers in the years to come.” In a video, he further added, “Today is a very special day for me. Because I want to thank each and everyone, who has supported me and blessed me throughout my T20 career. Today I decided that I want to give a 100 percent rest for my T20 bowling shoes.
“That’s why I want to thank Sri Lankan Cricket Board and my team members. While my shoes will rest, my love for the game will never ask for rest. Looking forward to seeing our youngsters make history. Melbourne stars team members and officials, Kent Cricket Club members and officials, Rangpur Riders team members and officials, Guyana Warriors team members and officials, Maratha Arabians team members and officials, Montreal Tigers team members and officials.”
Malinga, in January of 2021 had announced his retirement from franchise cricket, shortly after Mumbai Indians had released the veteran pacer – the leading wicket-taker in the IPL from their squad. Having already retired from Test cricket in 2011 and ODIs in 2019, Malinga continued to play T20 cricket, but the fast bowler decided to bring curtains down entirely on his international career and will go down as one the best fast bowlers of all time.
“When I played with you all, I got many experiences to my cricketing journey. That’s why I want to share all my experience in the future, especially with young cricketers and whoever wants to play cricket. They have a dream to play franchise cricket and for their national team.”
Malinga finishes with 546 international wickets. With 107 wickets in T20Is, Malinga is the leading wicket-taker in the format, just one more than Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib-Al-Hasan. Malinga bows out with a splendid career for Sri Lanka. His biggest achievement came in 2014 when he led his country to the T20 World Cup win in Bangladesh. He is the only bowler to claim five hat-tricks in limited-overs cricket – three in ODIs and two in T20Is.