By Cassandra Mascarenhas
Amidst the controversy caused by Lasith Malinga’s announcement to retire from test cricket in the face of the upcoming test tour in England next month, the fast bowler stated his reasons for his early retirement from the longer form of the game, citing a long-standing degenerative condition in his right knee as the basis for this decision.
Returning to Sri Lanka from his stint in the IPL, Malinga made this announcement at a press conference held yesterday in order to lay to rest the many rumours that followed the initial statement he made back in India.
“After the selection of the England Test squad, there were a lot of reports in the media insinuating that I might be feigning an injury to play in the IPL. This was very upsetting as I have been totally committed to playing for Sri Lanka. I realised then that I was better off making a final decision on my test career and after discussing it with my family; I decided to give up test cricket. I wrote to the selectors and the cricket board last Friday, confirming this and the same afternoon I released a statement to the media,” he explained.
The injury was sustained when he was playing for Sri Lanka back in February 2008, one that prevented him from playing ODI cricket for nearly one and a half years. The degenerative condition in his right knee was a career-threatening injury and it meant that his condition will just worsen when fielding or bowling for prolonged periods.
Malinga went on to say that his attempt to return to test cricket after a three-year absence last year following requests from the team management and selectors left his nursing severe knee pain for over two months.
This made him come to the realisation that the heavy workload of test cricket, which requires a fast bowler to be able to bowl more than 15 overs, sometimes on consecutive days, could lead to permanent injury. He added that he would only continue to play cricket for another three to four years, after which he would retire from all forms of the game.
“I therefore decided that not playing test cricket would help me achieve my goal of representing Sri Lanka in the 2012 World Twenty20 and the 2015 World Cup. While representing Sri Lanka in as many ICC events as possible is my priority, I am fully available for selection for all Sri Lanka’s ODI and T20 matches,” Malinga asserted
He went on to clarify his reasons for returning to Sri Lanka from the IPL, stating that he returned on his own accord to meet with the selectors and explain his situation in person and after returning from India on Monday, he met with the selectors last morning. He dismissed all reports that he had been ordered back home for rehabilitation.
In conclusion, he credited the IPL with giving him a foothold in the cricketing world after he sustained his injury in 2008, as it was after his memorable performance in the IPL that he was recruited back onto the national team.