Sri Lanka news December 21, 2014

Malinga to return for New Zealand ODIs

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Lasith Malinga has missed Sri Lanka's last two ODI series, against India and England © PA Photos

Sri Lanka's premier one-day bowler Lasith Malinga will return to international cricket towards the tail-end of the seven-match ODI series in New Zealand in January 2015. Malinga underwent surgery on a troubled left ankle in September and is currently recuperating. He missed Sri Lanka's last two ODI series played against India and England.

"Malinga is still recovering from surgery and everything is going well according to plan. He will return for the last two ODI games in New Zealand," assured Sri Lanka coach Marvan Atapattu.

Malinga, who has been named in Sri Lanka's provisional World Cup squad of 30, has 271 wickets from 177 ODIs. Without him Sri Lanka managed to beat England 5-2 at home after losing 0-5 to India.

Suranga Lakmal made up for Malinga's absence with two telling spells in the final two ODIs against England.

"The way he [Lakmal] bowled especially at Pallekele is what we all welcome. We all knew what he could bring into the side. In Malinga's absence we needed that tight bowler and he has come and delivered straightaway," Atapattu said.

On his return to international cricket from an ankle injury Lakmal took a career-best 4 for 30 in Pallekele and followed it up with figures of 2 for 25 in Colombo.

"It's nothing like you having your settled combination. If Malinga and [Nuwan] Kulasekera can come back and bowl the way they have done in the past it will be fantastic," Atapattu said.

Kulasekara remains in contention for a place in the World Cup squad, on the back of his domestic performances, Atapattu said. Kulasekara had been an integral cog in Sri Lanka's ODI attack since 2007, but had encountered an extended lean patch this year, during which he claimed only two wickets in his nine recent outings.

He has been active in Sri Lanka's Premier Limited Over tournament since, most recently taking 4 for 30 in the final against Sinhalese Sports Club. Kulasekara took 11 wickets in seven matches at an average of 22.45 all told, during that tournament.

"Kulasekera is going through the club season at the moment and he is working through his action [for] inswingers and outswingers with the coaches in the academy," Atapattu said. "We didn't want to rush him but give him plenty of confidence before he comes and plays.

"His greatest strength is to move the ball at the pace that he bowls at: 120-130. He lost a little of his natural swing in the latter part of the match he played against India lately. It was quickly identified by the bowler and he is doing some remedial work."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Aravinda on December 23, 2014, 11:35 GMT

    SL bowling lineup happens to be one of the best in overseas when considering about the performances in AUS and NZ alongside with SA and other teams.These fast bowlers will make a lot of difference in this world cup for sure and other teams will have to be aware of them.

  • Anver on December 23, 2014, 7:44 GMT

    "KING OF YOKERS" is back & its a great news for SL cricket before the all important WC15 !!!!

  • Sudarshana on December 23, 2014, 4:21 GMT

    See you soon Malinga. . SL cricket missing you.

  • Dummy4 on December 23, 2014, 4:20 GMT

    Why dont we Try Thisara as an opener?

    1 to 7 line up Thisara, Dilshan, Sanga, Mahela, Thirimanne,Mathews, Chandimal, Sachithra, Kulesekera, Lakmal and Malinga.

    4 front line bowlers, 3 Al rounders including 2 seaming options and Better bating line up.

    With Thisara up the order we can practice 1996 world cup strategy. Kula and Mathews to finish the game.

  • Gurunath on December 23, 2014, 2:55 GMT

    God news for SL fans! but not for oppositions

  • Perumal on December 22, 2014, 22:43 GMT

    welcome news for new zealand. So 7 ODI's in a row and if malinga plays in all the ODI's kiwi's too will learn too play well malinga as he is an unorthodox bowler and will get exposed easily. Although Malinga is effective against most of the teams, he is totally ineffective against indian batsmen(including tailender) because he got exposed as Srilanka played too many matches against india and Malinga playing IPL. Sri Lanka should think twice using malinga in world cup while playing against new zealand. Had he played in test matches he definitely would have had very short career.

  • manjula on December 22, 2014, 15:53 GMT

    @ espncricinfomobile.... There is good and bad for Tri Series. You mentioned the good side of a Tri-Series. But too many matches ahead of WC can be take things away. If analyst watch closely, may be able to identify weaknesses on other teams.

    For SL, Kula needs to be in form and should be in the line up. He is best swing bowler....can be good in AUS/NZ conditions. Malinga, Kula, & Lakmal can be good pace line-up for SL.

  • Android on December 22, 2014, 13:22 GMT

    malinga is pretty key man for SL in WC. hope Lanka would do well

  • Sam on December 22, 2014, 12:29 GMT

    A form Kulasekara will be icing on the cake...coming together well for SL.

  • Dummy4 on December 22, 2014, 8:38 GMT

    Malinga, Lakmal, Eranga & Prasad are good for the WC as seamers. Sachithra & Herath are good as Spinners. Mahela, Dilshan, Sanga, Chandimal, Mathews, Thirimanne, Thisara should include as Batsmen.

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