Sri Lanka news January 20, 2014

Malinga recalled from BBL over 'fitness issue'


Sri Lanka Cricket has recalled fast bowler Lasith Malinga and spinner Ajantha Mendis from the Big Bash League with immediate effect, so the pair can undertake a training programme in Sri Lanka. Malinga's fitness is among the selectors' chief concerns, as the team prepares for a busy limited-overs schedule in the next three months, which features the Asia Cup and World Twenty20.

"We felt it is important for all national squad players to undergo a strict training regime in the next few weeks, as Sri Lanka has a heavy schedule ahead," the SLC secretary, Nishantha Ranatunga, told Daily Mirror. "The decision to call back Lasith and Ajantha was taken in consultation with our coaches and national selectors."

This decision comes weeks after the board and selectors had also refused Thisara Perera permission to play in the BBL. On that occasion, the chief selector, Sanath Jayasuriya, cited Perera's work ethic as a concern and he has now expressed similar sentiments about Malinga's fitness. Malinga has visibly gained weight over the past eight months and, though he remains a significant asset in the limited-overs sides, his performances have also become less consistent.

"You have to admit that Malinga has a serious fitness issue," Jayasuriya said. "But if he shows serious intentions and is willing work hard and improve himself and if he is ready to show commitment towards national duty, then we feel it is unfair to leave him out. He is obviously a world-class bowler. So, we want him to prove himself by coming back from the Big Bash and working with our coaches and trainers and get back to his full fitness in the next few days."

Malinga has so far been amenable to the board's request, prompting optimism from the selectors. "He knows that we are keen to help him out and have the patience to manage him and assist him cope with his injury in order to prolong his international career," Jayasuriya said. "It is a very encouraging sign and we hope everything will turn out well for the country."

Sri Lanka's next commitment, after finishing their Test series in the UAE, is a tour of Bangladesh, although the limited-overs matches do not begin until February 12.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on January 23, 2014, 1:32 GMT

    They won't pay and now they don't want them to earn from other places too. If they are serious about his fitness he should not have been allowed to go in the first place.

  • manjula on January 22, 2014, 19:11 GMT

    We have to agree with Sanath here. These players have been in the setup for a while and they are not doing any better. We all saw how Malinga bowled in the PAK ODI series. If they don't improve they will be history in 1-year. Forget about them playing in WC. He has played IPL and BB before, hasn't got better in ODI. He was doing well in T20 but not in ODI. He was doing better in ODI and even Test before he was drafted to IPL. If the plan is to play them in the T20 then going to BB is fine.

  • Janaka on January 22, 2014, 12:20 GMT

    Sanath came from down south, and he had undergone all the difficult times when he was a young lad, and I think he will correct our team. Sanath was a great captain, and his tactics worked nicely in his time, given a less effective team after many legends retired, but still he managed things nicely. Have a lot of faith in him, because, this is how good coaches train sportsmen to become better. Strict rules, hard working, tough life, that's really nice of him!

  • Thilanka on January 21, 2014, 20:23 GMT

    Top to bottom we are playing negative cricket ! sorry to say at the moment we don't have any wicket taking bowlers ! NO Vaas's NO Murali's NO Jayasuriya's or NO OLD malinga's any more (present malinga is top batsman's bunny). I have only one question for SL selectors was Dilruwan Perera played as a bowler , all rounder or batsmen ??? why he doesn't ball a single ball in 2nd innings ??

  • Dummy4 on January 21, 2014, 15:54 GMT

    This is another rubbish decision by SLC. If they wanted Malinga or Mendis to be fit, they shouldnt have let them go to OZ in the first place. But they did not let Perera go. Dilshan is spared. This is unfortunately another typical political act by the administrators. What SLC need is a well set plan of rules for players and implementing it. However it is hard to think given our socio-politic culture, that it will be realized in the near future, especially the implementation.

  • Dummy4 on January 21, 2014, 12:00 GMT

    It appears that the decision to force Malinga and Mendis home is related to the capitulation of the Test side against Pakistan. Why make Malinga and Mendis pay when they were half a world away? Mendis particularly was getting better with every game in the BBL. He began his stint seemingly out of form but was building up confidence - this was very important as he was learning to thrive in Australian conditions; significant given that the World Cup will be held there soon. Sri Lankan selectors have let him down again.

  • Lester on January 21, 2014, 11:10 GMT

    Absolutely agree about Mailinga's paunch. I have been commenting on this for some time. How did he get so unfit - for a professional cricketer it is completely out of order these days.

    Some of the other contracted players are also showing similar signs. They need a good physio team in SL - it will help with their general fitness, aviod injuries and help with their fielding.

  • Kelum on January 21, 2014, 4:04 GMT

    Agree with Bevan Perera, plus there are multiple sides to this coin, what people especially international cricket fansdon't know is, that SL cricket doesn't operate like the ECB, CA or CSA with a whole hearten genuine effort to maximize the country's cricket. They do a bit of this but majority of the officials are self serving and are seeking personal power and wealth. So when the come out with this holier than thou attitude of why aren't you hear to serve the country most of the cricketers would just turn around and laugh. If they were so worried of Malinga's fitness they shouldn't have let him go to the BBL in the first place (Like Thisara), what's the point in bringing him back when the Melbourne Stars potentially only have 3 more games (2 if they miss finals) to play. This stinks of some politically motivated power struggle/ tug o'war between the administration and Malinga.

  • Ajith on January 21, 2014, 3:51 GMT

    It is time to look at other bowlers who could fit into this format without relying heavily on in disciplined Malinga and out of form Mendis as they are now more focused on making hay while the sun shines ( The recent UAE series with Lakmal,Eranga and Pradeep showed that these bowlers had potential to be match winners irrespective of the format of the game. Look ahead selectors instead of falling back.Take a cue from Australia,India,Pakistan,South Africa and even Windies and New Zealanad who are all trying out various new combinations.

  • udendra on January 21, 2014, 3:41 GMT

    How come Dilshan is exempted from all this? Has he got special privileges?

  • No featured comments at the moment.