Mumbai Indians (MI) and Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga has decided to retire from franchise cricket. The IPL franchise announced the same on its official Instagram handle on Wednesday.
In a post, the IPL’s most successful franchise revealed that Lasith Malinga had informed of his decision to the MI management earlier this month and made himself unavailable for the team's retention list.
On the bowler's retirement decision, Mumbai Indians quoted Lasith Malinga as saying:
“After discussing with family, I think now is the right time to retire from all franchise cricket.”
Lasith Malinga explained that the pandemic situation and the restrictions on travel would make it difficult for him, given his personal circumstances, to participate fully in franchise cricket for the next year, and hence he made the decision. He said in this regard:
“I have discussed the same with the Mumbai Indians management in recent days as they prepare for the upcoming auction, and they have been very supportive and understanding. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Ambani family, everyone at the Mumbai Indians franchise and all our fans for the wonderful 12 years", said Lasith Malinga.
The Sri Lankan further added in this regard:
“MI have treated me like family, supporting me 100% in every situation both on and off the field and always giving me the confidence and the freedom to play my natural game whenever I walked onto the field.”
Akash Ambani, owner of Mumbai Indians, paying tribute to Lasith Malinga, said:
’“Lasith Malinga has been at the core of MI for 12 years. We respect his decision, even though I would have liked to him to be part of our bowling attack for another 5 years. Malinga is an MI legend. His contributions to Mumbai Indians’ journey has been invaluable. We will miss the Wankhede chant for him, but he will always be in the heart of all MI fans.”
Lasith Malinga and Mumbai Indians: A special connection
Lasith Malinga and Mumbai Indians have been synonymous with each other in the IPL over the years. The Sri Lankan pacer is the most successful bowler in the history of the T20 league.
In 122 matches in the competition, Malinga has claimed 170 wickets at a strike rate of 16.62 and an economy rate of 7.14, which include six four-wicket hauls and one five-wicket haul.
Lasith Malinga was part of four IPL title triumphs with Mumbai Indians - 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019. He missed out on the 2020 victory, as he had pulled out of the tournament, citing personal reasons.
Mumbai Indians announced their retention list for IPL 2021 on Wednesday. Apart from Lasith Malinga, they released Sherfane Rutherford, Nathan Coulter Nile, James Pattinson, Mitchell McClenaghan, Prince Balwant Rai and Digvijay Deshmukh.