Veteran fast bowler Lasith Malinga has announced his retirement from franchise cricket on Wednesday (January 20). It was reported that the ace Sri Lankan pacer had already informed his decision to the Mumbai Indians (MI) management earlier this month.
Malinga has been a part of MI since the second season of IPL. He missed only two editions – 2018 and 2020 of the T20 extravaganza. The right-armer served as the bowling mentor of MI in 2018 before returning to play for MI in 2019.
Malinga missed the 2020 season due to personal reasons but remained the highest wicket-taker in the tournament’s history with 170 scalps to his name, from 122 matches. He had also won the purple cap in 2011 with 28 wickets to his credit.
The Mumbai-based franchise also issued a media statement on Wednesday in which it was mentioned that Malinga made up his mind after a discussion with his family.
Malinga thanked MI for treating him as a family member and giving him the freedom to bowl according to his comfort. He admitted that MI is the best franchise in the world and wished good luck to owner Nita Ambani and Aakash Ambani along with head coach and his countryman Mahela Jayawardene.
Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma took to his official Instagram handle and reacted on the decision of Malinga, stating that the senior Lankan bowler is a ‘match-winner’ and one of the best the game has seen.
Frontline pacer and an ideal successor of Malinga in MI, Jasprit Bumrah wrote a heartwarming message for his best mate.
“It’s been an honour playing alongside you and picking your brain all these years, Mali. Congratulations on a successful career, the IPL won’t be the same without you,” wrote Bumrah on Twitter.
It’s been an honour playing alongside you and picking your brain all these years, Mali. Congratulations on a successful career, the IPL won’t be the same without you. @mipaltan pic.twitter.com/9XIPr13dtN
— Jasprit Bumrah (@Jaspritbumrah93) January 21, 2021
MI coach Jayawardene thanked Malinga for the wonderful memories.
Thank you champion!! Great memories. Good luck Mali pic.twitter.com/jOLqGpqUmd
— Mahela Jayawardena (@MahelaJay) January 20, 2021
Surya Kumar Yadav termed Malinga as an incredible player of the game.
“I remember heading to Wankhede on match days. Marine drive used to be full of fans wearing those blue wigs. For a player from Sri Lanka to find a special place in Mumbai’s heart… you were simply incredible Lasith Malinga. Legend retires!” tweeted Surya.
I remember heading to Wankhede on match days. Marine drive used to be full of fans wearing those blue wigs. For a player from Sri Lanka to find a special place in Mumbai’s heart… you were simply incredible Lasith Malinga. Legend retires! 💙#ThankYouMalinga pic.twitter.com/tppAZxRkPA
— Surya Kumar Yadav (@surya_14kumar) January 20, 2021