Reigning champions Mumbai Indians (MI) have confirmed that they will be without the services of their talisman Lasith Malinga, who has pulled out of the upcoming edition of the IPL.
Malinga has opted out as he wants to be with his family back home in Sri Lanka.
“Lasith is a legend and pillar of MI’s strength. There’s no denying the fact that we will miss Lasith’s cricketing acumen this season. However, we fully understand Lasith’s need to be in Sri Lanka with his family during this time,” MI said in a statement.
Malinga is the highest wicket-taker in IPL with 170 scalps. It will only be the second time in IPL’s history that its most successful outfit will be without Malinga.
The slinging pacer missed the inaugural IPL due to an injury. Despite being ruled out of the 2018 edition, he was roped in as a bowling coach by MI. However, the Sri Lankan veteran made a remarkable return last year. His tally of 16 wickets, albeit at a high economy rate of 9.76, was a critical aspect of MI winning a record fourth title.
Last month, it was reported that Malinga had ruled himself out of the initial phase of IPL 2020 only due to personal reasons.
It has claimed that his father is ill and may undergo surgery in the upcoming weeks. Hence, the 37-year-old has expressed his desire to be with his father at the time of surgery.
James Pattinson set to replace Malinga
Australian pacer James Pattinson has been announced as Malinga’s replacement for the 13th IPL season.
The 30-year-old has plenty of experience in the T20 format, having accounted for 47 wickets at an impressive average of 24.12.
In the Big Bash League (BBL), Pattinson has picked 32 wickets at 23.46 with the best figures of 5/33. His attributes will be valuable for MI this season.