Sri Lanka news April 22, 2011

Lasith Malinga gives up Test cricket

ESPNcricinfo staff

Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lankan fast bowler, has given up Test cricket because of a "long-standing degenerative condition in the right knee". He intends to continue playing the shorter formats, though, and hopes to play in the 2012 World Twenty20 and the 2015 World Cup.

Malinga, 27, made himself unavailable for the upcoming Test tour of England citing his fitness problems, but has been playing for Mumbai Indians in the IPL. Sri Lanka Cricket asked him to return home and undergo a rehabilitation programme, but Malinga has now clarified that his condition stops him from playing only the longest format.

"Although I am sufficiently fit to play both ODI and T20 cricket, I have a long-standing degenerative condition in my right knee that needs to be carefully managed," Malinga's statement read. "The condition relates directly to the chronic knee injury I sustained playing for Sri Lanka in Australia back in February 2008, an injury that prevented me from playing ODI cricket for 16 months.

"The injury was a career-threatening injury and my orthopaedic surgeon was of the opinion that given his experience with other professional athletes in Australia I was very fortunate to play again. I have since been advised by the national team physiotherapist and my orthopaedic consultant that my condition will deteriorate when fielding or bowling for prolonged periods.

"I did try to return to Test cricket after a three-year absence last year [against India] following requests from the team management and the selectors, but it left me unfit nursing severe knee pain for two months.

"I have realised that the heavy workload of Test cricket, which requires a fast bowler to be able to bowl more than 15 overs, sometimes on consecutive days, could lead to permanent injury. I have carefully considered my options and have decided that not playing Test cricket will help me achieve my goal of representing Sri Lanka in the 2012 World Twenty20 and the 2015 World Cup."

Malinga said he was available for all limited-overs internationals, and planned to travel to Sri Lanka soon to discuss his plans with the selectors.

Since his debut in July 2004, Malinga has played only 30 Tests and 84 ODIs. His slingshot round-arm action and focus on pace put a lot of strain on his body, and he was forced to miss several games. His career seemed to have stalled after the Galle Test against England in December 2007, but he returned for the series against India mid-2010. It was, however, a false dawn on his stop-start Test career.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • david on April 25, 2011, 4:11 GMT

    The last month has been disasterous for Sri Lankan Cricket. Sanga Stepped down, Murali retirerd, SL selection commitee quit and now this!! SL are having some major issues. But I am a bit sad to know that we will'nt see Malinga in whites. He was a very terrifyingly fast but wondreful bowler. Sri Lankan Test Cricket will miss him terriblly.

  • Mark on April 24, 2011, 23:47 GMT

    Fully support Malinga's decision to retire from test cricket.Test cricket while the ultimate form of the game is extremely demanding. With many one day and 20/20 tournaments in the last 10 years, players burn out very quickly. The IPL is a godsend for players to financially secure their future. Also Malinga by retiring from test cricket can ensure he can fully concentrate on representing Sri lanka in the shorter formats of the game one day and twentwenty. Its a sensible sound decision for any cricketer wanting to extend their playing career for Sri Lanka as long as possible in todays international cricket environment. Well played Malinga, and I fully support your decision 100 percent!

  • Ali on April 24, 2011, 16:33 GMT

    Well the batsmen will now have one unorthodox bowler less when they next face Sri Lanka in a Test Match but its heard that they have a young fast bowler coming up who has got same slinging action. Can't say how effective he will be.

  • Ali on April 24, 2011, 16:24 GMT

    I don't know much whether its right or wrong but its definitely a sigh of relief for test batsmen around the world!!

  • Dummy4 on April 24, 2011, 10:36 GMT

    Final day of a Test match! only 5 overs to go 22 to be taken for the batting side, be it the best team in the world or the 8th in the ranking. For Sri Lanka, they should take 4 wickets. From here, what we see is whether Malinga is there to bowl 3 overs out of remaining five. If he were not, the side wins. If he were, there is great possibility SL might win or draw a draw. Case is as simple as that.

  • Vipul on April 24, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    What's wrong with his decision? He must be knowing about his economic necessities better than most of us. Going by the sad treatment given to our former players, it's absolutely okay to put finances first. And all of us would have acted the same if we're in his position.

  • Srikanth on April 24, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    I think it is a wise decision because in Test Cricket, a bowler needs to bowl a minimum of 20 overs a day or sometimes 30 overs in subsequent days. I think the decision is more to do with his slinging bowling action rather than knee problem because the red ball does not swing as much as the white ball and that too in sub-continental conditions. Therefore, better to concentrate on WCT20 in 2012 and WC2015 in Aus/NZ.

  • Nishani Lochna Madhumali on April 24, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    SLCB should find out whether Malinga has a real injury. If it is real he should be allowed to play short formats. But if he is misleading SLCB & Country just because he wants to play IPL to earn MONEY, then SLCB must drop him from all formats FOREVER. But as a PUPPET of Politicians, SLCB will never make a correct decision to protect players from foreign threats like IPL. Because present SLCB is totally handled by Sri Lankan Politicians & BCCI.

  • Dummy4 on April 24, 2011, 3:39 GMT

    if he is not playing because of injury its fine, but if IPL has got to do something with his leaving the field from test cricket, then he should be dropped from shorter version of the games as well, because if you c the no of the one day games and T 20's he should be bowling more balls than test matches. and SL does not play more test than other test nations.

  • Andrew on April 24, 2011, 1:20 GMT

    @Cricket.Buff - bear in mind Lee & Ahktar were well into their 30s when they retired from Tests. Pace bowlers CAN survive in Tests if they are managed correctly.

    Anyways sad to see Malinga go, on top of Vaas & Murali gone, SL look limited in taking 20 wickets. Like India, they will rely a lot on their batsmen!

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