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
Series/Tournaments: Asia Cup
Teams: Sri Lanka

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)


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.

Posted by Sakthiivel on (March 13, 2012, 10:34 GMT)

Indians won the world cup, But you guys lost it twice in a row, Minnows are always minnows. I agree you guys are entertainers, we always remember horbat and WC final, Thanks Guys for the entertinement.

Posted by zenboomerang on (March 13, 2012, 9:09 GMT)

@satish619chandar... I have always enjoyed watching SL in ODI's & expect they will perform well in Bangladesh - even saying that they are warm favourites... Malinga often reminds me of Mitch Johnson - similar bowling styles & deadly when in form... I expect he will give 100% for this series as he always tries to do...

Posted by yorkslanka on (March 13, 2012, 8:26 GMT)

people seem to forget that the new icc "two new balls" rule is there specifically to disadvantage fast bowlers who are able to reverse the ball as the new ball does not lose its shape as much now. this is obviously going to affect bowlers from the subcontinent in the main. Malinga is class but i admit he looked out of sorts in the cb finals. Not surprising considering the number and frequency of matches we played...he will come back strong...

Posted by satish619chandar on (March 13, 2012, 7:09 GMT)

I guess SL will have a slightly upper hand as they have a settled team and India need to regroup from a tiresome tour.. With some new faces, India might surprise.. Malinga will always be a factor.. He might not have as deadly he was in Australia but in subcontinent, he will be a factor.. He can change a match in single over.. For a player of his caliber, one or two bad matches even though it came on trot can be affordable.. He does make a difference to the attack as all other bowlers are almost similar with similar line and length bowlers and slow ball..

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (March 13, 2012, 7:08 GMT)

Form is temporary, but class is permanent

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (March 13, 2012, 6:20 GMT)


Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 6:15 GMT)


Posted by Jawed_Saleem on (March 13, 2012, 6:11 GMT)

Form is temporary, CLASS IS PERMANENT ! Malinga is one helluva bowler, has tons of class. Poetry in motion !On-song Malinga will be pivotal to Sri Lanka's campaign ! Jawed/Karachi

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 6:09 GMT)

@shehan , u are absolutely right mate, as SL is not fit to win a single cup over somany years, so i also think either IND or PAK will lift the trophy.


Posted by johnathonjosephs on (March 13, 2012, 5:52 GMT)

India should win this match easily. They have momentum from the last encounter with Sri Lanka and 5 days is not enough time to get over the jet lag from Australia for the Lankans

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (March 13, 2012, 5:51 GMT)

I find it funny that there are worries over Malinga for being expensive, yet he was the highest Wicket Taker in the entire tournament out of the World's top 4 ODI Teams (South Africa not in the tournament)

Posted by Balumekka on (March 13, 2012, 5:49 GMT)

We have a quality bowling attack now with lot of allrounders and Malinga has no pressure as much as he had earlier. So Mahela should use him only for the attack and at death overs. I think we are wasting Malinga by using him very early.

Posted by senthil25 on (March 13, 2012, 5:42 GMT)

Hi guys BIG FINALS " India Vs Srilanka", and this India will going to win this is Series..

Posted by Balumekka on (March 13, 2012, 5:04 GMT)

@3liteindia: Agreewith you about Malinga's performances these days. But ZAK is not the correct bowler to compare with Malinga, because ZAK averages 29.0 with a strike rate of 35.0 and Malinga average 25.9 with a strike rate of 30.1. So ZAK is no where close to Malinga's standards. Eventhough the last tour was bad for Malinga, still he was the highest wicket taker of the tournament. He has consistently delivered for Sri Lanka. Last few games (only 3 games he played bad) were just rare off days for him. Class players like him just get out of these quickly.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 4:58 GMT)

Not to forget all, we (SL) played aus and CB series without some good bawlers, thats why Malinga needed to bear all pressure. We do not depend upon Malinga as we have many new stars to come. I still surprise why India still rely on Saheer Khan ... there should be many bawlers like Malinga and Lee. Check out!!!

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 4:49 GMT)

malinga is the highest wicket taker for 2012, so plzz leave him alone, he may go for runs but he take wickets,,on his day he will win match by him self,,,,he jest have to improve his fielding,,,,this media is doing him no good ,,,, well done malinga and hope you will keep doing what your doing,,,,,, taking wickets,,,,,,

Posted by maddy20 on (March 13, 2012, 4:40 GMT)

Our kids are ready. Kohli, Raina and the like are waiting. So are the Pathan brothers. Bring it on!

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 3:37 GMT)

Well.. sadly.. Sri Lanka will come to the finals.. and loose. So I doubt India or Pakistan should worry..

Posted by SupertrampSMS on (March 13, 2012, 3:33 GMT)

Malinga never performed against India..Averages 42+ and has an economy rate of 5.94 with a best of 2-21.So what's the big deal they are making out of Malinga

Posted by Jawed_Saleem on (March 13, 2012, 3:27 GMT)

Form is temporary, CLASS IS PERMANENT ! Malinga is one helluva bowler, has tons of class. Poetry in motion !On-song Malinga will be pivotal to Sri Lanka's campaign ! Jawed/Karachi

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 3:05 GMT)

NIMAL 55 If Malinga economy is going @ economy rate of 5+ is not worth relying on him. he gives over 20 runs with poor fielding and he cannot bat Why keep him?. Youngsters like Sachithra Senanayake/ Thisara Perera saves at least 20/30 runs in the field can bat and bowl well . What else you want. selectors be mindful

Posted by dudex16 on (March 13, 2012, 2:47 GMT)

I expect india to hand over a thrashing by 82 runs if we bat and by 7 wickets if we bowl. Guys, this is the subcontinent, the place where the fireworks begin, for INDIA, THE MIGHTY CHAMPIONS

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 1:33 GMT)

"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. " says it all...poor performance from Malinga, but still the highest wicket taker...even a Malinga in a poor form is better than any bowler in the world

Posted by Niks4cricket on (March 13, 2012, 1:33 GMT)

Well said - Penny71. It is insane that teams do not get proper rest and there is lots of cricket being played only for benefit of cricket boards these days. These days I pity for poor players who would play just to earn money and not for the pride of country or to enjoy the beautiful game of cricket.

Posted by playitstraight on (March 13, 2012, 0:10 GMT)

Malinga is such an unpredictable bowler, it is hard to trust him on any given day. Against India, he gave 96 runs in 7.2 overs and took 1 wicket, and next match against Australia, he gave only 49 runs in his 10 overs and took 4 wickets! He needs consistency, rather than doing well in one match and getting pummelled in the next match. Zak (Zaheer) may not be Malinga, who can fire yorkers 90% of the time, but he has consistency and it showed when he was the leading wicket-taker in the WC 2011 despite not taking a single 4 or 5 wkt haul. Hope Malinga improves this!

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 0:08 GMT)

Dinesh Chandimal is a exciting player coming out of Sri Lanka, I am excited to follow his career..all the best to Pak to win Asia Cup this year..

Posted by kalins on (March 12, 2012, 23:37 GMT)

Why worry on Malinga, he still has many guns to use and fire. Beware! Indians.

Posted by nesith on (March 12, 2012, 23:22 GMT)

To the Editor As far as I know, I don't believe that ramanayake found malinga in his college coz ramanayake went to Richmond college galle where as malinga went to Mahinda college galle, I think he found him bowling at galle cc cricket nets, maybe need more research before writing??

Posted by Clara74 on (March 12, 2012, 23:02 GMT)

No There shouldn't be anymore fireworks again. bcos i don't think india will think this is a do or die situation for them in the begening. even if they think it will not work allways. if DO OR DIE Strategies works on every disasters then people should not die at all. will see how this goes.

Posted by Penny71 on (March 12, 2012, 21:54 GMT)

I am so sick of sub continent team playing each other every other week. This brainless schedules are a testimony for player burnout. End of the day, these are people who need a good rest and a break. This inconsiderate scheduling of matches will take a toll as the players will be suffee from fatigue and lack of drive. All these cash rich cricket board are to be blamed for treating their players like robots.

SL surely do not have a point to prove. Win or lose they have shown what a phenomenal side they are. We all understand even if they don't perform well in Asia cup. This is ridiculously boring.

Posted by lankanlioncric on (March 12, 2012, 20:55 GMT)

Malinga is our best but we have better bowling attack than most teams. he had a bad game, no big deal. one positive is that our media dont blow things up nor do the public. so having one bad game goesnt add pressure malinga. but we need to find another murali soon

Posted by darshanakarunathilaka on (March 12, 2012, 20:02 GMT)

We hope your best for today match. It's very helpful for us to win the game. best of luck male...

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (March 12, 2012, 19:53 GMT)

When Sri Lanka is going to improve in their bowling department. For years they relied on Murli and now they are relying on Malinga to win every match. It's a team game and Sri Lanka needs to develop match winning bowlers. Mendis as excellent bowler but buried under pressure too.

I understand Sri Lanka is small country by population but it does not mean that you only rely on 1 bowler for whole year. Make no sense at all. He is human not machine. Even machine needs oil change too. Come on Sri Lanka.

Posted by Arvind3 on (March 12, 2012, 19:37 GMT)

Considering the flat subcontinent tracks, if Malinga doesn't get his yorkers bang on target, it's gonna be fireworks again :D

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