Lasith Malinga’s comeback still doubtful, Sri Lanka selector reveals plans

While the 37-year-old does not have a central contract, he would be eligible to play the T20 World Cup with a tour contract.

Rohan Gulaty Author

Updated - 17 May 2021 11:46 pm

A lot has been happening in Sri Lankan cricket over last few days with the board taking some big decisions involving some senior players. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have set their eyes on 2023 World Cup and are backing youngsters to do the job and have decided to drop players like Angelo Mathews, Dimuth Karunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal and Suranga Lakmal from their limited-overs plans. While there are possibilities that some of the players might not sign the new contract after enduring pay cuts, the players could still be a part of Sri Lanka squad by signing tour contracts.

Will Malinga play T20 World Cup?

Notably, Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga is someone who has played under tour contracts before announcing his retirement from ODI cricket. With one of the best T20 bowlers of this era available within the ranks, SLC have been trying to get a clarity from the veteran if he is interested to make a comeback for the national side.

Pramodya Wickramasinghe, head of three-member National Selection Committee, had a talk with the pacer and revealed, "We know he is the best T20 player and his services are always very important. But all players are equal for us and we apply the same guidelines in selections. I spoke with Lasith Malinga and asked him if he is hoping to play in the T20 World Cup this year. He told me that he hasn’t played competitive cricket in about one and a half years,” as quoted by Daily News.

Malinga will be given no special privilege for selection

Sri Lanka Cricket have also made it very clear that they are no longer going to offer a contract on seniority or any other personal preferences. It has been stated that the selections will be done only after evaluating the overall performance of a player based on the new criteria. While Malinga would have hoped to get some criteria lifted for him, it doesn't seem the case right now.

Mr. Wickramasinghe confirmed that he has told Malinga that one should be playing domestic cricket to be eligible for national selection. There is also a mandatory fitness test in place, as part of the new guidelines that requires a player to run 2 kms in 8 minutes and 30 seconds. He added that if the pacer can fulfill all these requirements, they will consider him for selection at that time.  Notably, Malinga has not yet given a clear response to the selectors whether he intends to play in the T20 World Cup or not.

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