Fast bowler Lasith Malinga has turned down offers to play Twenty20 cricket in South Africa and Australia – including the Big Bash League - in order to focus on his upcoming national limited-overs assignments.
“It would have been great fun to play in the new Big Bash,” Malinga said, “but representing Sri Lanka remains my priority in the year ahead and I want to make sure I am as fit as possible.” Malinga recently retired from Test cricket because of a long-standing knee problem. Four Australian and two South African franchises had reportedly expressed interest in signing on Malinga, who plays for Mumbai Indians in the IPL.
Australia tour Sri Lanka in August-September this year, where they will play two T20s and five ODIs ahead of the Test series. Sri Lanka then travel to South Africa where they play five ODIs in January next year before heading to Australia for the Commonwealth Bank series. The BBL is scheduled to begin in the middle of December.
“Lasith’s had several expressions of interest to play T20 cricket for franchises in Australia and South Africa,” Charlie Austin, Malinga’s manager said, “but he wants to manage his workload carefully ahead of a busy winter for Sri Lanka including tours to South Africa and Australia.
“If he played in Australia he would be playing non-stop from mid-December to mid-March and that would be a risk given his degenerative knee condition.
Sri Lanka are currently touring England, where, after the completion of the ongoing Test series, they are scheduled to play five ODIs and one Twenty20 game. They then head to Scotland to play two ODIs againsts the hosts and Ireland.