Malinga says prepared to play till 2023

Thursday, 31 August 2017 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lankan stalwart Lasith Malinga has said that he is prepared to play cricket until 2023. 

Malinga, who is stand-in captain for today’s 4th ODI against India, was speaking ahead of the game.

“I’m ready to play until 2023,” he said when asked about his future plans. However, he did acknowledge his recent poor return in terms of wickets; Malinga has picked up just eight wickets in his last 10 ODIs, five of which came in the recent series against Zimbabwe.

“As a bowler I’ve not been able to get wickets in the last couple of series. A lot of people have talked about that. In fact there was more talk in the last couple of months than in the 14 previous years.

“I’ve played every other country and every single player in national cricket. Now I’m 34. My pace is cut down. If you asked me 10 years ago, I didn’t expect this. But whoever is coming towards the end of their careers, there is failure. People talk about them not being fit enough, or not picking him.”

Malinga, who will be playing in his 300th international match on Thursday, was out of the side through injury for the last year and a half, but he now believes fitness-wise he’s capable of performing for the national side on a consistent basis.

“I didn’t play for 19 months because of my injury. I’ve only played a couple of series since then. Now I feel I am getting better. Everyone knows how major my leg injuries are. Now that my leg is getting better, I’m doing all the treatment and all the rehabilitation. Now I feel really comfortable to bowl 10 overs.”

“MS Dhoni also has played 300 matches. Whoever is playing that number of matches – they are there because they are doing really well. Otherwise nobody could do that. If I’m doing well for the country, that’s why I’m being kept in the team. I also have 299 wickets at the moment. So I’m really happy and proud.”