What's the story?
Lasith Malinga, one of Sri Lanka's greatest limited-overs fast bowlers, will retire from ODI cricket after the first match of the upcoming series against Bangladesh. The Sri Lankan skipper Dimuth Karunaratne broke the news about Malinga planning to hang up his boots.
In case you didn't know...
Malinga was Sri Lanka's highest wicket-taker in the recently concluded World Cup, where his team failed to reach the semi-finals. Despite his good performance, there were questions about Malinga's future in the ODI setup post the tournament, with age and fitness not being on his side.
The heart of the matter
Revealing the news in a press conference, Karunaratne said:
"He is going to play the first match. After that he is retiring. That's what he said to me. I don't know what he said for the selectors but for me he said he is playing only one match." (Transcription credit: CricBuzz)
If Malinga does retire after the first ODI, he will finish as Sri Lanka's third highest wicket-taker in ODI cricket.
In the latter stages of his career, Malinga struggled with injuries and bad form. Also, his commitment towards Sri Lankan cricket was questioned. However, in the build up to the 2019 World Cup, he started playing more regularly for Sri Lanka. He even captained the Sri Lankan team in the ODI and T20 series on the tour of South Africa just before the World Cup. Unfortunately, the team was whitewashed in both series and the captaincy was handed to Dimuth Karunaratne. However, Malinga did an exceptional job in the World Cup, picking up 13 wickets.
Malinga, who will turn 36 in a month's time, will have a chance to say goodbye to ODIs in front of his hometown supporters in Colombo on 26th of July. The Sri Lankan team will want to give Malinga a winning farewell.