Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga cut short his Test career on Friday, leaving himself open to criticism on whether he would have taken the decision had he not been playing the IPL.
Under pressure from the Sri Lanka selectors over putting IPL over the country, the 27-year-old fast bowler from Galle, hastily announced his retirement from Test cricket citing injury problems. Even though he is injury-prone, there is a strong view that the Mumbai Indians player has fallen to the lure of the IPL.
In a statement, Malinga said his decision is because of a "degenerative knee injury". "In January of this year, I wrote a letter to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and released a statement to the media confirming that I planned to reassess my Test future after the World Cup. After the tournament, I decided that I needed to make myself unavailable for Test cricket in an effort to prolong my career as a national cricketer for Sri Lanka," said Malinga."Although I am sufficiently fit to play both ODI and T20 cricket, I have a long-standing degenerative condition in my right knee that needs to be carefully managed. I have realised that the heavy workload of Test cricket, which requires a fast bowler to be able to bowl more than 15 overs, sometimes on consecutive days, could lead to permanent injury. The condition relates directly to the chronic knee injury I sustained playing for Sri Lanka in Australia in February 2008."
He, however, expressed a desire to play the 2015 World Cup. "I have carefully considered my options and have decided that not playing Test cricket will help me achieve my goal of representing Sri Lanka in the 2012 World Twenty20 and the 2015 World Cup."
The BCCI isn't too happy with the timing as well as it puts it in a spot too, coming hours after the understanding with the Sri Lankan board.
The SLC had asked Malinga to return from the IPL for rehabilitation after he made himself unavailable for the Test series in England citing a knee problem.
The BCCI's priority is clear — IPL is at the top. It is at least bigger than the West Indies series or else the top players could have been rested for it.
It seems as if playing for the country is no longer the best option for some players.