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Malinga wants to play until 2023

295   //    30 Aug 2017, 23:37 IST
LasithMalinga - cropped
Sri Lanka quick Lasith Malinga

Sri Lanka paceman Lasith Malinga has outlined his determination to continue playing until 2023 amid questions over his fitness and longevity.

Malinga, who will captain Sri Lanka in the fourth one-day international against India on Thursday, returned from a knee injury that sidelined him for a year in February.

The 34-year-old missed 19 months of ODI action and has taken just eight wickets in 11 50-over matches since, leading to suggestions his best days may be behind him.

But Malinga remains confident he has plenty to offer and sees himself remaining in the game for another six years.

"I didn't play for 19 months due to my injury. I've only played a couple of series since then. Now I feel I am getting better," said Malinga.

"I'm doing treatment and all the rehabilitation. I am also working on the fitness. Now I feel really comfortable to bowl 10 overs and I bowl consistently.

"I am looking ahead to bowling the next ball and to get wickets in every match that I am given. I'm ready to play until 2023.

"As a bowler, I've not been able to get wickets in the last couple of series. A lot of people have talked about that. In fact, there has been more talk in the last couple of months than in 14 previous years that I've played, but I'm used to that."

Malinga needs just one wicket to take his career ODI haul to 300, but he is not preoccupied with reaching the milestone.

"I have no special aim to get 300 wickets," he said. "If I'm doing well for the country, that's why I'm being kept in the team. I also have 299 wickets at the moment. So I'm really happy and proud.

"I've played 14 years in international and franchise cricket. I've played every other country and every single player in national cricket. Now I'm 34. My pace is cut down. If you asked me 10 years ago, I didn't expect this.

"But whenever someone is coming towards the end of their careers, there is failure. People talk about them not being fit enough, or not picking him."


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