Who is Lasith Malinga?

Lasith Malinga

Some weeks ago, the great Sri Lankan Cricketer, Lasith Malinga retired from Franchise Cricket after he was released from the Mumbai Indians squad ahead of the IPL 2021 Auctions.

His retirement creates an ideal situation for an investigation into his early years and his illustrious professional career.

Born on the 28th of August, 1983, Separamadu Lasith Malinga came from a humble background; he was born and bred in the countryside, in a village named Rathgama. As a youngster, he often played cricket with his peers in the village. He had his primary education at Vidyathilake Vidyalaya in Thiranagama.

Upon completion of his Grade 5 scholarship examination in 1993, Malinga enrolled at Vidyaloka College, Galle, for his post-primary education.

For Lasith Malinga, the journey towards a career as a Cricketer started at Vidyaloka College.

Over at Vidyaloka, Former Sri Lankan Pacemaker, Champaka Ramanayake invited Malinga to join the Galle Cricket Club. This was after the former pacemaker witnessed Malinga’s dexterity on the field of play.

Thanks to Malinga’s refreshing style of play and Champaka’s guidance, Malinga was able to join the first XI Cricket Team at Mahinda College, Galle.

As they say, Lasith Malinga’s stay at Mahinda College marked a definitive moment in his journey towards being a cricket icon. He enjoyed the support of some of Mahinda College Alumni members.

On the 1st of July, 2004, Lasith Malinga made his test debut in a match against Australia at the Marrara Oval in Darwin.

He gave a stellar performance, taking six wickets in the match.

According to historical records, Malinga was impressed by the overall spirit of sportsmanship as displayed by the Australian team all through the match.

That same year, Malinga made his ODI debut in Sri Lanka’s opening match of the 2004 Asia Cup in a match against the United Arab Emirates.

He became the 123rd player to ever do so. The match was conveniently won with 116 runs and Malinga took the wicket of the Emirati Captain, Khurran Khan, to finish with figures of 1/39.

In no time, Malinga became a regular member of the Sri Lankan Test and One Day International sides.

He is notorious for troubling batsmen with his animation pace and well-propelled bouncer.

In April, 2011, after an illustrious career, Malinga announced his retirement from Test Cricket so that he can focus on ODI and T20 Cricket career.

In a testament to his ability, during the 2007 Cricket World Cup Super 8 match on the 28th of March, in a match against South Africa, Malinga became the first player to take four wickets in four consecutive balls of ODI Cricket.

The Sri Lankan Side needed five runs for victory and with five wickets in hand, Malinga was handed the ball in the 45th of the South African inning.

I’m the final two balls, of the over, he cleaned bowled Shaun Pollock and had Andrew Hall caught at cover.

In the next over, Malinga removed Jacques Kallis caught behind then bowled Makhanga Ntini. That was the 5th hat trick in World Cup History. Even though he gave a phenomenal performance, the South African side still won the match by 1 wicket with 10 balls left.

He pulled the Second hat trick in his career during the 2011 Cricket World Cup in a group stage match against Kenya.

By so doing, he became the first bowler to take two World Cup hat tricks and the fourth to take two hat-tricks in all One Day International Cricket.

In August 2011, he did it again, an hat-trick against Australia and thus became the first man to take three hat-tricks in ODI Cricket.

The ICC named Lasith Malinga the 12th man in the World ODI XI courtesy of his performance in 2011.

In 2012, Lasith Malinga was named the Vice-Captain of the Sri Lankan Twenty20 International Team and he became the Captain of Sri Lankan Cricket Team in 2014 ICC World Twenty20.

In 2016, he quit from all domestic and international cricket for a year. He had a long spell of injury and that led to his team losing matches against England, Australia, Zimbabwe etc.

In 2017, during the second T20i against Bangladesh, Lasith Malinga took a hat trick, becoming the 2nd Sri Lankan and 5th overall to take T20I hat trick.

He started his career with the Indian Premier League team, Mumbai Indians in 2008.

He became the team’s leading bowler in terms of wicket taken.

Sachin Tendulkar, ex Mumbai Indians Captain, considered Malinga an invaluable player for the Mumbai Indians. In the first match for the Mumbai Indians in the 4th season, he got 5 wickets against Delhi Daredevils.

In the 2011, Champion League Twenty20, he was the highest wicket taker in the tournament and he won the golden wicket for his performance. He also won the player of the Tournament.

In February 2018, Malinga was appointed as the bowling mentor of the Mumbai Indians.

For 12 years, 2009 to 2020, Lasith Malinga was an icon for the Mumbai Indians. All through the 12 years, he did all he could do to contribute to making the Mumbai Indians become the most successful franchise in the history of the IPL. He did this by contributing to the team winning trophies on 5 occasions.

As at when he retired, he was the highest wicket taker in the history of the IPL with 170 wickets in 122 matches. He took his wickets at a brilliant average of 19.8 and strike rate of 16.6.

This average places him at No. 3 in IPL history after Kagiso Rabada and Doug Bollinger.

Even though Lasith Malinga was a foreigner, he was very loyal to the Mumbai Indians all through his career.

He blamed the coronavirus pandemic and the travel restrictions that came with it as the reason why he is quitting franchise cricket.

The Mumbai Indians Management, in a statement made public, confirmed Malinga’s statement and confirmed that it respects the decision. As a result, Malinga was exempted from the club’s 18 member retention squad.

Closing Thoughts

In another statement released by Lasith Malinga, he thanked the Ambani Family, everyone at the Mumbai Indians franchise, and the fans for their support.

Lasith Malinga is happily married to Tanya Perera and they have a son together.

All in all, the Yorker King will be missed but his legacy will survive his retirement.