Sri Lanka veteran Lasith Malinga has rated India’s Jasprit Bumrah as the best bowler in the world but believes that there is still more to come from the formidable speedster.
Bumrah has claimed 13 wickets in India’s first seven games of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 to help the Men in Blue qualify for the semi-finals with one league game still to play.
The 25-year-old Bumrah was once considered a white-ball specialist but has spearheaded India’s bowling attack in all three formats over the past 18 months.
“When I met Jasprit for the first time in 2013, he was a young kid,” Malinga told Star Sport ahead of India clash.
“He had pace, the only thing lacking was accuracy.
“But he was always willing to learn and was extremely committed to the game. He soon realized that in T20s, only skillful players can survive,” he added.
“Jasprit Bumrah helped India qualify for the semi-finals. He learned everything quickly – be it the slower ball, in-swinger or out-swinger. He has that confidence and that’s why he is number one now.
“I don’t think he feels any pressure. That’s why he can deliver five yorkers and one slower ball at ease.
“I hope in the next year he improves on how to analyze a game. Then, nobody can beat him. Trust me on that,” the Sri Lanka veteran added further.
Malinga has taken one fewer wicket than Bumrah in the ongoing World Cup, with the two-star bowlers set to meet on Saturday when Sri Lanka finish their campaign against India.
While Virat Kohli-led India has already qualified for the semi-finals, Sri Lanka was knocked out of the tournament last week, having won three of their six completed matches.
Saturday’s game will be Malinga’s final World Cup match and he said: “I am happy to play for the national team, especially since this is my last World Cup.
“I really enjoyed it. There is a good camaraderie between the senior and young players. I have tried to stay relaxed and play my natural game.”
Also, there were rumours that Malinga would retire from international cricket after the 2019 World Cup but the 35-year-old intends to keep playing for his country, for the time being at least.
“After the World Cup, I plan to play a little more before ending my ODI career.
“After that, I want to share my knowledge with young bowlers,” Malinga concluded.