Malinga to have consultation on ankle in Australia
Lasith Malinga could be out of action until at least the end of the year if he goes through with surgery on a problematic left ankle, which he is currently receiving consultation on, in Australia. Malinga left for Melbourne on Saturday morning, after having experienced a significant increase in pain in his ankle while bowling.
He will see his orthopaedic on Sunday, after which a final decision on whether surgery is his best course of action will be taken. If Malinga does undergo the arthroscopy surgery that has been suggested for him, he will be in doubt for each of Sri Lanka's limited-overs assignments until the World Cup. The normal recovery time for this surgery is 16 weeks, after which time Malinga should be able to return to full intensity at training.
Even if he does opt for the surgery however, it is not yet clear when the procedure will take place. Sri Lanka have just under five months (roughly 21 weeks) before they play the World Cup curtain-raiser against New Zealand on February 14. He is almost certain to miss the seven-match ODI series against England in November and December, but Sri Lanka's selectors hope he will return for the ODIs against New Zealand in January.
"We are keen to see him recover as early as possible for the World Cup," chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya told Daily Mirror. "Obviously, he is one of the most crucial players for Sri Lanka's chances. We hope he will be able to play a few matches against New Zealand as it is important to get match fitness before World Cup starts."
Malinga had felt increasing pain in his left ankle while running and bowling over the last few months. Though his symptoms had been managed by anti-inflammatory cortisone injections in the past, his symptoms had not responded sufficiently to the injection delivered on September 5. He had since played the Champions League T20 for Mumbai Indians on his own prerogative, SLC cricket operations manager Carlton Bernadus said.
Malinga will consult on Sunday with Dr. David Young, who has previously treated him for a separate injury on his right knee, which has prevented him from playing Test cricket. Malinga has been unusually expensive in his last two ODI series, against Pakistan and South Africa, when he was also clocked at consistently lower speeds than he had been bowling at in the past.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando