Malinga injury blow for Mumbai Indians
Back spasms have forced Lasith Malinga, the Mumbai Indians fast bowler, to return to Sri Lanka for treatment, and he could miss up to two weeks of the IPL as a result. Malinga last played for Mumbai Indians against Rajasthan Royals on April 11 and missed the match against Delhi Daredevils on April 16.
"He is undergoing treatment [in Sri Lanka]," Nishantha Ranatunga, the secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket, told ESPNcricinfo. However, Ranatunga was not certain how long Malinga would be out and said the fast bowler would have to be evaluated by the Sri Lanka team's physio. It is understood that Malinga is planning to return by April 25 and targeting full fitness for the match against Delhi Daredevils on April 27.
Malinga has reportedly not been training since the game against Royals and flew back to Sri Lanka on the morning of April 16. The team spokesperson said that Malinga "required rest and it made sense to send him back home", but they were hopeful he would return in a few days.
The loss of Malinga weakens the attack of Mumbai Indians, who have made an inconsistent start to the tournament and currently sit in sixth place in the points table, having won three of their five games. Malinga is the leading wicket-taker in the IPL and has been in good form again this season, taking nine wickets from four games at an economy-rate of 4.54.
Injuries have been a problem for Malinga in recent years. A knee injury he picked up during Sri Lanka's Australia tour in 2007 threatened to cut short his career and in April, 2011, he retired from Tests in order to spare his knee further damage.
Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo