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Malinga pulls out of Middlesex deal

ESPNcricinfo staff

May 28, 2012

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A rare moment of celebration on a difficult day for Lasith Malinga , India v Sri Lanka, CB series, Hobart, February 28, 2012
Lasith Malinga cited his heavy workload to pull out of a deal with Middlesex © Getty Images
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Teams: England | Middlesex

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.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (May 29, 2012, 13:26 GMT)

Malinga really doesn't have an especially high workload but then he also has fairly fragile knees so, while this is an unfortunate decision, it's understandable. Malinga's priorities have really got to be SL (for his country) and IPL (for his own financial security). I don't really see Malinga as a mercenary because he is not putting anything over his national commitments. No, he is not playing Test cricket but you can't expect the guy to wind up a cripple for the sake of what is just a game when you get right down to it. I think the main issue is players pulling out of negotiated contracts, which does make it hard for counties and other clubs. They work to get a player signed and then, if that player pulls out, they may have missed opportunities with other players who are no longer available. As long as he's genuinely doing it for health reasons, I have ill feelings towards him.

Posted by Harvey on (May 29, 2012, 11:13 GMT)

I would prefer it if the ECB was to scrap the rule allowing an extra overseas player for T20. T20 is supposed to make money for the counties, not line the pockets of overseas players who are just over for a month or so for some easy cash. In England we've had overseas players in all forms of our domestic cricket for many years so (unlike in India) there's no novelty value attached to bringing them over. People who watch T20 in England do so in order to lightheartedly cheer on their county or have a few beers with their mates, so I doubt whether gate receipts would be a whole lot different without the "freelancers."

Posted by satish619chandar on (May 29, 2012, 3:05 GMT)

People opting out of English T20 consistently.. County did live with overseas signing s and the Kolpak deals which prevented the players having dream of playing for their national team.. Less money for huge work load in the games.. Good the players are now filling their pocket playing IPL for a couple of months and in 16 games and spending the remaining 10 months on their body and national team.. @rajithwijepura : Here is the 1$ question.. Will you carry his expenses if he breaks down next month and ends his cricketing career? Let him do what he feels is right for him and his family.. Plus, he is not skipping country entirely.. He puts same effort in any game he plays..

Posted by Jarr30 on (May 28, 2012, 23:35 GMT)

Why would Malinga waiste his time & energy for smaller T20 tornaments. His earning would be peanuts comapred to what he gets in IPL. Malinga you are too precious to Mumbai Indians. We love you forever. MI Fan :)

Posted by rajithwijepura on (May 28, 2012, 18:40 GMT)

Here is Million $ question.... Would he do the same to IPL?

Posted by   on (May 28, 2012, 18:26 GMT)

Enter the era of mercenaries. If the deals are irresistible, all patriotism will vanish! It is not new though. England had created the system of 'Gentlemen' (amateurs - play for passion alone) and Players (professionals - play for money) perhaps a century ago.

Posted by whatawicket on (May 28, 2012, 18:06 GMT)

i said it a few weeks ago. the ecb should say no overseas players in the english ipl, because it getting past a joke. they are getting that much money in the ipl that they dont need it. the time when players need the cash have gone. so just make it english qualified only. when i go to a t20 game its not to watch some average overseas player who maybe a lesser light squad ipl player at best. so clubs in the end actually make money, other than the finalist.

Posted by Herath-UK on (May 28, 2012, 17:21 GMT)

I was looking forward to seeing him in action,would have brought some glamour and class to T20 but as Angus says his injury concerns are to be understood. Ranil Herath - Kent

Posted by Nair_saab on (May 28, 2012, 17:18 GMT)

Good for srilankan cricket that malinga himself is taking care of his pocket and his body (no extra strain fro SLCB). Any ways comments from the Enlish guys indiacate that there is not much exitment among englist fans for Flife T20, othet than cricket addicts . So, I guess malinga pulling out -really doesnt matter. In england only 4 day cricket matters (atleast they say so). :)

Posted by   on (May 28, 2012, 16:25 GMT)

now thatz a real sri lankan lion

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