Lasith Malinga Hints at Retirement, Says ‘Mentally Done With Cricket’
New Delhi: Former Sri Lankan pace spearhead Lasith Malinga is thinking to hang his boots soon as the 34-year old hinted at possible retirement, saying that he is mentally done with international cricket now that his eventful Indian Premier League (IPL) career is over. The fast bowler has been the core of Mumbai Indians winning combination in the last decade. He has donned the prestigious Mumbai Indians jersey in 110 matches of the 157 games the franchise has played so far. However, Malinga went unsold in the last month’s IPL 2018 auction, but he will still continue to serve Mumbai Indians as yesterday he was appointed as bowling mentor of the franchise.
“Mentally I am over with playing cricket. I don’t think I will play anymore international cricket. I am planning to announce my retirement soon,” Malinga told PTI during an exclusive interaction on the sidelines of the St Moritz Ice Cricket Challenge here.
“I have not spoken to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) but once I go back I will have to again go through the domestic grind, see how my body responds. But now as my IPL career is also over and I am starting a new chapter with Mumbai Indians, I might not play again,” he added.
Malinga knows it would be tough not to play in front of a capacity Wankhede Stadium crowd wearing the Mumbai Indians blue jersey but admitted that in his heart he knew that his time was up.
“Everyone gets that signal. Even the great Wasim Akram knew when his time was up,” he said.
“I was not surprised at their decision not to have retained me. I had 10 very good years with Mumbai Indians and I achieved a lot. But this year, the owners spoke to me and told me about their vision going forward. They wanted to create a good team for the next three years. I also understand that my time in competitive cricket is over now.”
The Sri Lankan slinger said he is looking forward to the new chapter of his life as a mentor.
“I am 34-years-old and not getting any younger. And I feel this is the right time to make a career move. Mumbai Indians had the mentorship role in mind and I am happy to start a new innings,” said Malinga, who has a record 331 T20 wickets across 248 games (international plus franchise).
“My job as a mentor will now give me an opportunity to guide the next crop of fast bowlers. I will pass on my knowledge to them and also it will be an opportunity to assess myself in the coaching arena,” he further added.
Malinga acknowledged the emergence of Jasprit Bumrah in Mumbai Indians outfit and said he is a fine prospect in the shortest format.
“Bumrah has emerged as a great death bowler. He has the skill sets which I also had — bowling at the death overs under pressure. For that you need a different temperament as IPL is a high-pressure tournament,” he said.
“What makes me even more proud is the fact that he has transformed his IPL success into international cricket. I was so happy to see him perform so well in South Africa. His biggest quality is the ability to be consistent.” (With PTI inputs)