The reemergence of Lasith Malinga not so long ago from hibernation when there were whispers that his career was good as over has been somewhat magical. What took the cake in that comeback was the reinstallation of Malinga to wear the big mantle captaining the ODI side. Since then if his early foray was nominal with a couple of wicket taking bursts in the early overs the unorthodox sidearm wizard with the ball during his heyday has progressively thundered his way on the comeback trail. Malinga did not get the desired support from his bowlers, and fielders with dropped catches off his bowling proving costly when Sri Lanka made a disastrous exit from the 2018 Asia Cup at the hands of minnows Afghanistan.
In such a scenario that the 35-year old veteran has braved the odds to bowling himself into prominence in the run up to the ICC 2019 Cricket World Cup has been praiseworthy. Having figured in a 7-wicket burst skippering Galle in the first game of the domestic Super Provincial One-Day Tournament, the right arm bowler with the devilish action that has bewildered batsmen in the far corners of the game, has mounted his comeback in a spellbinding surge; like a stallion let loose and on the gallop that has seen Lasith Malinga display signs of his former best by some commanding wicket taking spells for the Mumbai Indians in putting his IPL team right up in the reckoning to clinching 2019 championship title in style. Significantly it has been some hostile bowling bordering on 3-wicket acts that has proved to be the decisive border line in those victories on the Sri Lankan’s heroics with the ball. It is this turn around in Lasith Malinga in a sudden transformation to his peak that must be viewed by the Sri Lankan camp as a big plus point to fronting the country’s world cup campaign with the opening game against New Zealand at Cardiff on June 1.
Malinga has proved to the world what a great bowler he is. His sensation world cup his hat-trick feats including 4 wickets in four balls against South Africa in 2007, have been out of this world stuff. His lethal toe crushing Yorker has been his most destructive delivery that has pole axed the best of batsmen. Indeed, Sri Lanka will look to Malinga as the main strike bowler to deliver the goods in the big show event in English climes. A product of softball cricket spotted playing on the beach resorts of his native down South Rathgama, Malinga will be the cynosure of all eyes as he spearheads the Lankan bowling attack in the big show event that gets underway on May 30.
By Srian Obeyesekere