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Lanka wait on Malinga return

Thanks to a back strain, Lasith Malinga couldn't do much but watch his teammates slugging it out in the middle from the dressing room in the first week of the World Cup. Amol Karhadkar reports.

cricket Updated: Mar 01, 2011 00:22 IST
Amol Karhadkar

Thanks to a back strain, Lasith Malinga couldn't do much but watch his teammates slugging it out in the middle from the dressing room in the first week of the World Cup.

On Monday, when the 'slinger' appeared with a new hairdo, it became apparent that he had put the spare time to good use.

As the paceman went all out in the nets on the eve of Sri Lanka-Kenya contest, the focus was as much on his hairdo as on his fitness.

Coach Trevor Bayliss, however, was only bothered about his fitness.

"Malinga is back in contention," he said.

As for his injury, the coach said the bowler strained his back about two weeks back while bending over to pick up a ball.

"The physio told us the first two weeks of recovery were crucial as injury could have recurred. He, however, bowled with full run-up today, apart from batting and fielding," he said.

Sri Lanka would be desperate to see Malinga match fit for the loss against Pakistan exposed their bowling attack. With Malinga missing from the line-up, Kumar Sangakkara's men looked anything but favourites to win the Cup.

While Sri Lanka are fighting a fitness battle, Kenya, who have looked the weakest link so far, are caught amidst the talks of infighting.

Cricket Kenya chief Samir Inamdar has blamed team's poor show on a rift between coach Eldine Baptiste and some senior players.

However, captain Jimmy Kamande asserted all was well in the team.

"I haven't spoken to the chairman. My team is very solid. When a team loses, people try to find excuses. We haven't performed well and we want to play well."