World Cup 2015 January 22, 2015

Malinga on track to play in World Cup

Lasith Malinga has now sufficiently recovered to begin bowling in the nets again © AFP

Lasith Malinga remains on track to play in the 2015 World Cup, despite having suffered a minor setback in his recovery from ankle surgery, Sri Lanka team manager Michael de Zoysa has confirmed. Malinga had experienced pain in his left ankle after he had begun to bowl off a short run-up in December, but he has now sufficiently recovered to begin bowling in the nets again.

"He's been bowling all week, and is on track to play the warm-up games before the World Cup," de Zoysa said. "Whether he plays in the one-dayers against New Zealand is another matter, but there is a chance. We'll be careful not to rush him. We've bought some ultrasound equipment to help with his recovery as well."

Malinga had had arthroscopic surgery in September, after a long-term ankle injury had deteriorated significantly in mid-2014. The surgery was expected to take 16 weeks to recover from, and though he was seen bowling at a reduced pace at the Khettarama Stadium nets during England's ODI tour of Sri Lanka in November and December, he had since returned for a consultation with his orthopaedic surgeon in Melbourne after suffering pain in the ankle.

Despite this, the team remains optimistic he will return to full fitness over the next few weeks, with teammate Mahela Jayawardene also tweeting he was "confident [Malinga] will be ready for WC".

Sri Lanka have relied heavily on Malinga to lead the attack in recent years. They play their first warm-up match against South Africa on February 9. Their first tournament match is the curtain-raiser against New Zealand on February 14.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando