IPL 2016 April 16, 2016

Malinga arrives for Mumbai Indians but unlikely to play

It is not yet known if Lasith Malinga will be available for selection for Mumbai Indians straightaway © BCCI

Mumbai Indians' premier fast bowler Lasith Malinga joined the squad on Friday evening, but he is unlikely to be available for selection immediately given the ongoing issues with his knee. The Sri Lankan pacer had missed Mumbai's first two matches of this IPL due to fitness concerns.

Two days before the IPL started, Mumbai coach Ricky Ponting had had said that Malinga was likely to arrive at this stage, but would sit out at least the first half of the tournament to recover from a knee injury. "I believe he will be joining us after the first couple of games to have his fitness assessed," Ponting had said. "Right now it's unlikely he will take part in the first half of the tournament anyway."

Malinga has been trying to recover from a bone bruise in his left knee since November. He was to captain Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup, but played just the one match. He then decided to stand down as captain for the World T20, because of uncertainty over his fitness, and eventually did not play a game.

In the absence of Malinga, the IPL's overall highest wicket-taker, Mumbai had fielded New Zealand fast bowler Tim Southee in their victory over Kolkata Knight Riders earlier this week. In the tournament opener, which they lost to Rising Pune Supergiants, Mumbai had opted to field an extra overseas batsman in Lendl Simmons, while Southee's New Zealand team-mate Mitchell McCleneghan had shared the new ball with India seamer Jasprit Bumrah.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo