COLOMBO: Sri Lanka fast bowling ace Lasith Malinga will retire from 50-over internationals after Friday’s first match against Bangladesh in Colombo, the 35-year-old has said.
Malinga played his last test in 2010 but continued playing the shorter formats and has taken 335 wickets from 225 one-day internationals for Sri Lanka, the third-highest for the island country behind Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas.
“I have already informed Sri Lanka Cricket authorities that I will be retiring during the first match of the Bangladesh tour,” Malinga said in a video posted on his wife’s Facebook account on Monday.
“Today, I have confirmed this to cricket authorities. They have responded positively and accepted my request.”
Malinga requested his fans to head to the venue of the match on Friday.
“I had the support of all of you to play for the cricket team for the last 16 years, overcoming a lot of challenges and fights to remain in the team,” he said.
“I thank all of you for supporting me. I would like to ask all of you to come and witness the last match I play for Sri Lanka on July 26 at Kettarama stadium.
“It’s my request. If you can, please do come as you will not see me in a one-day match after this.”
The paceman with blond-tinted hair and the distinctive slingshot action had previously said he would retire from international cricket following next year’s World Twenty20 in Australia.
Since his 2004 debut against United Arab Emirates, Malinga has been a formidable bowler in limited overs cricket with his ability to execute toe-crushing yorkers at will, especially in the death overs.
While the pace has undoubtedly dropped over the years, the former captain was still Sri Lanka’s most successful bowler at the recent World Cup in England with 13 wickets from seven outings to finish third in the list of most successful bowlers in the history of the World Cup with 56 wickets.
He has also taken three ODI hat-tricks and is the only player to have achieved the milestone twice during a World Cup.