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Lasith Malinga's fairytale comeback shows he still has a lot to offer

CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
537   //    16 Sep 2018, 13:25 IST

Sri Lanka v Pakistan - ICC Champions Trophy
Malinga played the perfect hand on his ODI comeback

Asia Cup 2018 has finally begun and while all the six teams are out to claim the title in the UAE, everyone has different goals that they are looking to accomplish. Some teams like Hong Kong and Afganistan are eager to make an impact while teams like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh are preparing for the World Cup in England next year.

Over the years, several players including established internationals likes of Yuvraj Singh, Shahid Afridi and Saurav Ganguly have made a comeback after a long layoff even if it is late in their career. The ongoing edition of the Asia Cup is one that Lasith Malinga is using to make his comeback after 16 months.

The road to his comeback hasn't been easy even for a legend like Lasith Malinga. Comebacks do not come by easily. The Sri Lankan selectors had their doubts as he was out for the game for 16 months and was not even playing too many domestic games. There were few more concerns regarding his age and fitness, But the right-arm pacer had to convince the selectors he was ready and can still contribute.

As crazy as it might seem, especially considering a bowler of the calibre of Malinga but the first match of Asia Cup 2018 between Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh was a make or break one for the pacer. He got off to the perfect start as he proved the world and the selectors wrong by taking four wickets and conceding only 23 runs.

Malinga also finished with the best bowling figures in the whole match. The last time that he had taken four wickets in an ODI was against South Africa in July 2014.

Magnificent batting from Mushfiqur Rahim (who scored his career-best ODI score of 144) and an overall wonderful bowling effort from Bangladesh enabled them to win the match by a comfortable margin.

That might have overshadowed the Malinga's perfect performance with the ball but the right-arm pacer did enough to show that he has plenty to give.

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