Former Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Tuesday.
The 38-year-old, who had retired from Tests in 2011, from ODIs in 2019, and from franchise cricket in January this year, announced his retirement from T20I cricket as well on Tuesday.
“Today is a very special day for me. I want to thank each one of you who have supported me throughout my T20 career. Today I have decided to give 100 per cent rest to my T20 bowling shoes,” he said in a social media post.
“I want to thank Sri Lanka cricket board, Mumbai Indians, Melbourne Stars, Kent Cricket Club, Rangpur Riders, Guyana Warriors, Maratha Warriors and Montreal Tigers. I now want to share my experience with young cricketers who want to play franchise cricket and for their national team.
“While my shoes rest, my love for the game will never ask for rest. Looking forward to seeing our youngsters make history”
Malinga ended his T20 International career as one of the greatest fast bowlers of the shortest format. The right-arm pacer played 84 T20Is for Sri Lanka and picked 107 wickets. He also led his country to the World T20 title in 2014.
Apart from international matches, Malinga had a glorious career in franchise cricket as well. He was part of the Mumbai Indians team in four of their five Indian Premier League title-winning campaigns.
Malinga last played a T20I match for Sri Lanka in March 2020 against West Indies in Pallekele.
Malinga, who took a total of 546 wickets across all formats for Sri Lanka, had already retired from Test cricket in 2011 and after that from ODIs as well but continued to play T20Is for the national side. He wasn’t named in Sri Lanka’s squad for upcoming World Cup.
Last year, he had expressed his desire to lead Sri Lanka in the T20 World Cup, which was originally scheduled to be held in Australia in October-November 2020 but will be held next month after a Covid-forced postponement.
“I am looking forward to help youngsters and guide them in the coming years,” he said as he thanked his national team and all the franchises that he has played for, including IPL team Mumbai Indians.
Malinga, who has played a staggering 122 IPL matches, has 170 wickets to his name, the highest in the T20 league, with the best bowling figures of 5/13.
He picked up 107 wickets in 84 T20 Internationals, 338 wickets in 226 ODIs and 101 wickets in 30 Tests. He was the first bowler to bag 100 T20I wickets and finishes fourth in the highest wicket-taker category in the list behind Dwayne Bravo, Imran Tahir and Sunil Narine.
The Sri Lanka pacer had also announced his retirement from franchise cricket in January this year after being released by Mumbai Indians.
Malinga, one of the best T20 bowlers of all time, was a key figure in the teams he played for in the Indian Premier League, the Big Bash League, the Caribbean Premier League and other franchise tournaments.
During his 12-year stint at Mumbai Indians, he was part of MI’s four of the five IPL title triumphs but had opted out of the 2020 tournament due to personal reasons at a time when his father was not keeping well.
“The experience that I have gained through the past 17 years will no longer be needed in the field since I have decided to retire from T20I Cricket marking my retirement from all formats of cricket,” said Malinga in a video on his YouTube channel.
He added, “But I will be continuously supporting the younger generations who strive to uplift the spirit of the game and I will always be there with all who love the game.”
A fearsome pacer known for his menacing yorkers, the leading wicket-taker in T20I also has two T20I hat-tricks to his name.
Malinga also picked up three hat-tricks in ODI cricket, with his performance against South Africa in the 2007 World Cup in West Indies etched in history.
“Today is a very special day for me,” he said. “I want to thank each and everyone who supported me throughout my T20 journey. I want to thank the Sri Lankan cricket board and team members. And Mumbai Indians cricket team, especially the team owners and officials.
“I would also like to thank the team members and staff at Melbourne Stars, Kent, Rangpur Riders, Kayana Warriors, Maratha Arabians and Montero Tigers. When I played with you all, I got many experiences through my cricketing journey.”
Inputs from PTI