Defending champions Mumbai Indians faced a big setback in the buildup to the upcoming 13th edition of the Indian Premier League as Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga opted out of IPL 2020 due to personal reasons.

Malinga, who is the highest wicket-taker in the history of the T20 tournament, will be replaced in the Mumbai Indians squad by Australian fast bowler James Pattinson.

Mumbai Indians owner Akash Ambani stated the following in a press release: “James is the right fit for us and adds to our pace attack options available at hand especially for the conditions we will play in this season in UAE.

“Lasith is a legend and a pillar of MI’s strength. There is 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.”

Malinga has been a key bowler for MI and has played a crucial role in the team’s campaigns over the years.

Pattinson will join MI, currently based in Abu Dhabi, this weekend. The IPL will be held in the United Arab Emirates from September 19 to November 10.