India v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, Mirpur

Mentor brushes aside concern over Malinga

Mohammad Isam in Dhaka

March 12, 2012

Comments: 44 | Text size: A | A

Lasith Malinga had Australia in early trouble, Australia v Sri Lanka, CB series, Melbourne, March 2, 2012
Despite some poor games, Lasith Malinga finished as the leading wicket-taker in the CB series in Australia © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Lasith Malinga | Champaka Ramanayake
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Sri Lanka's bowling coach Champaka Ramanayake has brushed aside any concerns about Lasith Malinga's form, saying that with the number of games Sri Lanka have been involved in Malinga was bound to have a poor game or two. Malinga comes in to the Asia Cup after an inconsistent performance in the Commonwealth Bank series in Australia, in which he was the leading wicket-taker with 18 scalps in 11 games but went at 6.21 runs per over.

Ramanayake discovered Malinga when Malinga was bowling for his college in Galle, mentored him at Sri Lanka's cricket academy and describes Malinga as his "rock". He said conditions in Australia and the fact that Sri Lanka had such a packed schedule there - they played five games in 10 days at the end of the tournament - affected Malinga.

"In Australia there was not much reverse swing, so he struggled a bit," Ramanayake told reporters at the team hotel in Dhaka. "So I hope he'll learn new tricks. He's okay; everyone can have a bad game or two when you play 11 games in such a short time."

One particularly poor game for Malinga was the Hobart match against India, in which Virat Kohli took him apart. The 96 runs Malinga conceded in that game was the most he has conceded in his eight-year ODI career, and his economy-rate of 12.52 in the match was the worst for any bowler who has conceded over 80 runs in an ODI game. He recovered almost immediately, taking 4 for 49 against Australia to help put Sri Lanka in the finals. More ups and downs followed in the finals: after getting hit for 74 runs in eight overs in the first final, he hit back with 3 for 40 in the second before ending the tour with a wicketless 10-over spell that went for 69 runs.

Despite that, Malinga is almost certaint to play in Sri Lanka's first game of the Asia Cup, against India on Tuesday. Ramanayake said it was likely Sri Lanka would pick two other medium-pacers in the XI. "We haven't decided it yet but I think any team will play three quicks with the Powerplays these days.

"Also, the two new balls mean taking three medium-pacers is necessary and reverse swing is still there; the Pakistanis did it last night. In Dhaka, the weather is dry right now so reverse is possible, though it is not like the days when we had just one new ball."

All the four teams participating in the Asia Cup were cooped up in their hotels on Monday due to a political gathering in Dhaka. Ramanayake knows Bangladesh well, having been bowling coach of their national side from 2008-2011, and said it was disappointing the teams could not go out, but they understood the situation.

Edited by Dustin Silgardo

Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in Dhaka

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by mazii on (March 13, 2012, 18:46 GMT)

Fitness problems are really haunting Srilanka quite badly. After playing awesomely against Australia in Australia, Srilanka deserves to hold the Asia Cup but they have fitness problem to resolve. India has the bright chance as the reigning companions, and also they will have flat tracks in Bangladesh. Pakistan has the world class bowlers in the shape of Ajmal and Gul, but the batting has been not clicking at the moment. Indians have been flat track bullies and only bat well on nice shiny flat tracks, apart from a few Indian batsmen. If Pakistan able to put around 280 on the board then they have the chance to beat India and Srilanka because they are the best bowling unit among all the teams competing for the cup. I rank India at the first place while Pakistan at the second. If Pakistan's incipient batting line up put up a good show then they have the chance to bring Asia cup home. I think Bangladesh will give tough time to the rest of the teams.

Posted by Sageleaf on (March 13, 2012, 17:56 GMT)

I will totally drop Malinga from the side and send him for rehab along with Mathews. Malinga and few others will not win matches against India. I told you Sri Lanka has become India's friendly neighbor. So we cannot win matches. Mahela wouldn't do nor Kumar. Mahela and Kumar will play just to be on the side. I'm sorry guys; you guys have become a joke when playing with India. Today's game was another example of why we don't win against India. For the last few years we couldn't cross the finishing line and end up always being the runners up. I think all the coaches have to take the responsibility for not performing and getting over the finishing line. Since 2007 World cup finals we are trying. It's really sad but the facts are stubborn. Why is Kapugedara on the side anyway? I think our selection committee is gone crazy, why not Bhanuka Rajapkse? I'm sad Sri Lanka will not win the Asia cup too.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 16:48 GMT)

what dis selectors doing ???? playing with kapugedara ! he is realy waste ,i'm sure that lot of talented youngsters in sri lanka ! but dis guyz r weird !!!!!!!! that kapu is not suetable for the 19 team !!! so how he play for national team !

Posted by zapeta on (March 13, 2012, 16:37 GMT)

@Bonggo, yes we have enjoyed a lot in Worldcup 1999 at Taunton, where the then World Champions SL doesnt make to super six stage.. best entertainers even today in the First match of Asai Cup 2011.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 16:28 GMT)

@rahulcricket007. Why are you screaming all the time? It was pointed out at least twice by various bloggers, that using all caps in texting amounts to yelling and screaming. May be, he doesn't read what others write. To boot, a few more guys have joined in the rude shouting brigade! Shame!

Posted by PradeepR on (March 13, 2012, 16:22 GMT)

I cannot believe they are writing this about Malinga. India will take a bowler like Malinga anytime in their team in a heartbeat.

Posted by RoshanF on (March 13, 2012, 16:20 GMT)

I too agree that the Asia Cup is looking more pathetic year by year. Bu it will certainly signal the " Return of the Flat Track Bully". Yeah, India are only good in those conditions these days. By the way did they really win the world cup, did really 'get' past the semis. Isn't that a huge question mark. The final needs to be examined too. But sorry Indian fans this asia cup, if 'everything is normal' , will be won by Pakistan. As for the Lankans they have some soul searching to do after absolutely throwing away two consecutive 'sure' wins ie. in the 3rd final of the CB series after blowing away the Aussies for a mere 231 and then today - getting to 180 odd for 3 needing a very gettable 120 runs off 100 odd balls. Indian bowling was pedestrian and yet SL threw it away. Not good, especially when you are the better side and despite flat tracks

Posted by SeamingWicket on (March 13, 2012, 13:48 GMT)

Malinga is a class act in such difficult times for fast bowlers. Shame he retired from test cricket. It is very difficult for fast bowlers these days to be very economical and be dangerous wicket takers at the same time in limited overs matches. He is possibly wearing himself out too by playing too many games. Wasim Akram said something many years ago about yorkers putting extra stress on the body. I think some journalists are being disrespectful towards Malinga in the way they are writing about him. They cannot name anyone else in limited overs who is a more dangerous wicket taker at present. Malinga (limited overs) and Dale Steyn (tests) are the two best fast bowlers on the planet at this time.

Posted by Bonggo on (March 13, 2012, 12:21 GMT)

Sakthivel,

Yes we have entertained you big time at Premadasa, Eden Gardens, Sharjah etc again and again. Hope you guys truly enjoyed it!

Posted by stormy16 on (March 13, 2012, 10:57 GMT)

Yes Maliga has been expensive of late but how much do we want from a guy who is the leading wicket taker? He showed similar form in SA and it seems the pace friendly conditions dont actually suit him and he wont be the first bowler from the sub-continent to face this strange delima. I also think the batters have come up with new methods to play handle him. Will be interesting to see if he is able to make adjustments to counter the batsman.

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