Defending champions Mumbai Indians player Lasith Malinga just turned 37 on Friday. But questions are raised whether he will play this season’s IPL or not?
Indian Premier League is all set to begin from September 19 in UAE for the second time since it starts in 2008. Malinga is not willing to travel to the UAE because his father has been ill and may require surgery in the coming weeks. According to the Sri Lankan government's Covid-19 rules, Malinga will need to undergo a 14-day quarantine if he has to return to his country for his father. So therefore Malinga is not taking the risk and staying in Colombo with his father. Though it is expected that he will join his team during the business end of the tournament where he and his experience is needed the most in death overs.
Malinga has a very very special relationship with Mumba Indians as he has been the most valuable player for them. He is the highest wicket-taking bowler in the Indian Premier League with 170 wickets since 2008. His experience is the key for Mumbai’s success as we saw in the last years final against Chennai where he bowled the last over and defended 8 runs to drive his side to a record fourth title.
He last played for Sri Lanka in T20 against West Indies at home this year in March. Sri Lankan Cricket organized a camp in June and July which he did not attend. So it is a question if he can bring back his form after such a long break and away from the practice.
Now if we talk about the pitches in UAE they are a bit disappointing and if you want results you need precision and experience. So here is where MI will need Malinga as the pitches are slow with not much bounce. Playing on such pitches requires certain skills, and with almost no bounce, pace and swing Malinga’s YORKERS are gonna work super fine.
If Malinga doesn’t play the entire season Mumbai Indians have many options in place which include Jasprit Bumrah, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Trent Bolt, Dhawal Kulkarni, Kieran Pollard, Hardik Pandya, and Mitchel McClenaghan. But MI bench of course isn’t sure that will they be able to make a perfect combination without Lasith who can propel them to another title, as we know Bowler's contribution is much more important in a T20 match.
At the age of 37, Malinga can still make his team win matches with his 4 crucial overs in every match. So let’s see if we can see him in action this season or not!! The time will say. Stay Alert!