World T20 2016 news March 18, 2016

Knee injury forces Lasith Malinga to return home

ESPNcricinfo staff

Lasith Malinga will play no further part in the World T20 © Associated Press

Lasith Malinga has been ruled out of the World Twenty20 with injury, dealing a substantial blow to Sri Lanka's campaign. Having flown to India earlier this week hopeful of playing some part in the tournament, Malinga has aggravated the bone bruise in his left knee that has plagued him since November. He has returned to Sri Lanka, and the selectors are expected to name a replacement over the next 72 hours, following practice games in Colombo on Friday.

Malinga had been preparing to play Sri Lanka's opening World T20 match against Afghanistan on Thursday, having increased his bowling load incrementally through the week. He was seen warming up ahead of the game, but pulled up as he ran in to bowl one of his practice deliveries, and stopped bowling thereafter. It was later confirmed he had aggravated his injury, and would play no part in the tournament.

There have been serious doubts over Malinga's fitness right through the approach to the tournament. Malinga was only able to play one match out of four in the Asia Cup, and had also stepped down from the captaincy when it became apparent he could not guarantee his availability for the full World T20.

He had said he was hopeful of playing in the World T20 in early March, but more recently, had questioned why the selectors chose him in the Sri Lanka squad when he felt he was clearly unfit. He had joined the side on Monday nevertheless, but will now have spent less than four days with them before he was withdrawn from the tournament.

This bone bruise is similar to the injury Malinga had sustained in his right knee in 2008. On that occasion, he was out of international cricket for almost two years. As he is now 32 years of age, there is a chance the current injury is serious enough to end Malinga's international career. He has also had trouble with his left ankle in recent years. Malinga underwent surgery on that ankle in 2014, but has been a diminished bowler since his return.

Sri Lanka have some seam-bowling cover in their present squad, which features Suranga Lakmal in addition to Dushmantha Chameera and Nuwan Kulasekara, who played against Afghanistan. Malinga had been the spearhead of the T20 attack however, and was instrumental to Sri Lanka's march to three World T20 finals over the last four tournaments. He remains the World T20's highest wicket-taker, with 38 scalps from 31 matches.

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  • Dinesh on March 19, 2016, 11:37 GMT

    Asela gunarathna is a good all rounder in domestic circuit.

  • Cricinfouser on March 19, 2016, 7:01 GMT

    sorry VANDERSAY is the replacement

  • Raphel on March 19, 2016, 6:50 GMT

    Stats of Mendis against West Indies;opposition=4;orderby=start;template=results;type=bowling;view=innings

  • Shan on March 19, 2016, 6:10 GMT

    vandersi is the replacement!

  • Raphel on March 19, 2016, 5:42 GMT

    I would say Ajantha Mendis is the best option. And I prefer him to be available tomorrow for the West Indies match given his past record against West Indies. Chris Gales is not good facing him. He made 4 for in 2012 Final. Ajantha please

  •   Asika Pinsara Samarasekara on March 19, 2016, 5:40 GMT

    Has to be Ajantha Mendis.Look at these turning pitches.nothing for quicks.Ajantha has experience,England, SA weak with spiners. Do not forget Ajantha is a batsmen's nightmare.!

  • yasiru on March 19, 2016, 5:29 GMT

    Guys ,I don't know weather you noticed or not ,But I feel Malinga was never injured during IPL .If I remember correct He quit test cricket as soon as the IPL season over ,I don't want to talk more about it ,it is his life and he should do what is best for him .But I wish he try more to help Srilanka as we desperately need him more than ever in this world cup .It is because he played for Srilanka he got this recognition from overseas .Wish you all the best and good luck in next IPL Malinga

  • Srikanthan on March 19, 2016, 5:03 GMT

    Need of the hour is a mendis. Having watched the mauling fast bowlers got in yesterday's match, I wonder even malinga could make any impact. Ajantha is blessing in the disguise.

  • Priyal on March 19, 2016, 4:26 GMT

    I think we need to strengthen the spin department. We only have Herath at the moment. Some of the tracks look like it might be useful to have Ajantha Mendis in the squad. In finals in the region where he has played he has a pretty good record. If not Vandersay/Prasanna would also be good to have. Suraj Randiv could also be a really good selection for the type of wickets that they have got for the T20 with a lot of bounce.

  • Rizwan1970 on March 19, 2016, 3:03 GMT

    Sekuga is Afridi type spinner who doesn't spin bowel much there for less effective in a T20 format with in wicket which assist spin. When considering present form Laksan Sandakan and Suraj Randiv are our best option. Unfortunately Sandkan not have any international experience and past selectors have missed meany opportunities which could have give him some exposure. Having said that even the Aussies have introduced a Rocky in to world cup. Other hand Rundiv have good experience but have bad memories with regarding replacing in to a world cup squid. The current selectors consist of some of the best who has first hand experience of situation and we believe will take good logical decision which will positively influence Lankan world cup fate.

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