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May 28, 2012
Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lankan fast bowler, has pulled out of a deal to play for Middlesex in this year's Friends Life T20 because of injury concerns.
He had signed to play seven of Middlesex's 10 Flt20 matches but returned from the IPL - where he took 22 wickets - complaining of soreness in his knee and back. He believes rest is required ahead of Sri Lanka's busy schedule where they host Pakistan in June, India in July before the inaugural Sri Lankan Premier League in August.
Malinga, whose relationship with Sri Lanka's selectors has been tense since he chose to retire from Test cricket to manage his fitness more successfully, said: "I was really looking forward to playing a few T20 games for Middlesex this summer, but playing for Sri Lanka remains my top priority and I have to make sure I am in peak condition for upcoming tours and the World T20 later this year.
"Now that we have a full ODI series with India in July that is being immediately followed by Sri Lanka's new T20 league in August, I have had to review my workload in the coming months. I don't want to take any risks and feel I need to make use of the full five-week break after the Pakistan ODI series to rest and build-up my fitness."
Middlesex have become the latest county to suffer the disrupruptive late withdrawal of an overseas signing as a crowded schedule, and alternative financial deals on offer elsewhere, continues to undermine England's T20 tournament.
"Naturally, we are extremely disappointed that Lasith will not be playing for Middlesex this summer," Angus Fraser, Middlesex director of cricket, said. "His presence would have added a healthy dose of stardust to proceedings. I totally understand Lasith's concerns - his workload is high - but am disappointed we are the side to be denied of his services.
"A lot of work goes in to securing these deals and getting 'No Objection Certificates' from the relevant governing bodies. But we are not the only county to suffer in this way and over the coming days we will do all we can to secure the services of another high quality international cricketer for our 2012 Friends Life t20 campaign."
Middlesex had initially tried to sign West Indian batsman Chris Gayle before he agreed to join Somerset and subsequently reneged on that deal. Somerset were also denied the chance to sign Faf du Plessis by Cricket South Africa. Junaid Khan has also pulled out of a deal with Lancashire.
Australians Adam Gilchrist and David Warner have previously played T20 for Middlesex, who won the Twenty20 Cup in 2008.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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