South Africa domestic news October 15, 2009

Malinga joins Highveld Lions

Cricinfo staff

Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lankan fast bowler, has joined South African domestic side Highveld Lions as their overseas player for the Pro20 competition. Malinga, 26, will leave for South Africa in time to participate in the Lions' first match against the Cape Cobras on February 5 in Cape Town.

"We are delighted to confirm that franchise coach Dave Nosworthy has successfully reached an agreement with Lasith Malinga to play in our Pro20 for the coming season," said Alan Kourie, the chief executive of the Lions. "We are thrilled to have someone of Lasith's calibre joining us for what will be a very important season."

Malinga was the leading wicket-taker among non-Indian players in the recent IPL, collecting 18 wickets at 17.33, and his fast, slinging style will presumably prove a handful for South African domestic batsmen. "I am really looking forward to playing for the Highveld Lions," he said. "I'm very grateful for the opportunity given to me and I hope that I can repay that faith by helping the Lions win the tournament. Playing cricket in South Africa is always a challenge and I'm hopeful the experience will make me a better cricketer."

Nosworthy said the side had been looking for a world-class strike bowler and that Malinga ticked all the right boxes. "He is an outstanding bowler and his performances for the Mumbai Indians and Sri Lanka over the past year show just how valuable he is in the Twenty20 format."