Lasith Malinga‘s international future has been put in further doubt after SLC told the 34-year old fast bowler that the only way he could get back into the team was by playing domestic cricket.
Malinga was up for selection in Sri Lanka’s domestic Inter-Provincial one-day tournament, which is set to begin on May 2. However, prior to the announcement of squads, he stated that he would not be returning to the island until the end of the IPL, where he is serving as Mumbai Indians’ bowling mentor.
“The selectors wanted him back, and he has to play domestic cricket according to them,” SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala said. “We’re playing our white-ball tournament, and 50-over and T20. I’m sure before the next international engagement which is South Africa and then the Asia Cup and so forth, he needs to play T20 games and 50 overs. If Lasith is not playing a domestic tournament, the selectors will have to make a call.”
Despite performing well in T20s domestically over the last few months, picking up 17 wickets in 8 matches at an average of 11.35, Malinga was overlooked for the Nidahas Trophy in March. In fact, he hasn’t played for Sri Lanka since last September, having returned from a lengthy injury layoff at the start of 2017.
Since then, his ODI form – 10 wickets in 13 ODIs at an average of 62 – has been patchy. He has had a good run in T20s, picking up 12 wickets in six games at 16.50. Malinga believes this, along with his domestic form, warrants a return to the national team starting with Sri Lanka’s home series against South Africa in July.
SLC CEO Ashley De Silva assured Malinga was still in the minds of selectors, but said that his future inclusion hinged on the fast bowler proving himself domestically.
“He has made himself available for selection and selectors have also picked him to play in one of the provinces,” de Silva said. “He hasn’t given any indication that he would be retiring, neither have the selectors given him an indication that they would not be considering him. So therefore if he performs well domestically he will be considered.”