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ICC Champions Trophy: Fit again Lasith Malinga ready to shine - Angelo Mathews

Angelo Mathews feels Lasith Malinga, who last played an ODI in November 2015, can still make a big impact for Sri Lanka in the ICC Champions Trophy, starting June 1.

icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: May 26, 2017 12:03 IST
Champions Trophy 2017,Lasith Malinga,Angelo Mathews
Angelo Mathews is confident “match-winner” Lasith Malinga can make a big impact for Sri Lanka in the ICC Champions Trophy.(Cricket Australia/Getty Images)

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews says Lasith Malinga is primed and ready for the ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales, despite a lack of 50-over action in the build-up to the event. (ICC CHAMPIONS TROPHY - SQUADS OF ALL TEAMS)

Malinga missed his country’s recent matches against Scotland due to his involvement in the Indian Premier League.

(Read | ICC Champions Trophy: Sri Lanka cricket team ready to embrace ‘underdog’ tag)

The experienced fast bowler helped Mumbai Indians to victory in the Twenty20 tournament and Mathews expects Malinga to be high on confidence as a result.

“He’s fully fit in terms of fitness,” said Mathews in a news conference on Thursday.

“We look forward to utilising him in the matches ... he’s very key. And he got here a few days back, very keen to get on the park.

(Read | Champions Trophy: Kane Williamson warns New Zealand cricket team about ‘slip-ups’)

“He hasn’t played 50-over games in the recent past, but he’s played a lot of games in the IPL where it’s very intense. And he’s been doing a lot of training as well.

“So he’s confident. We are confident. And we all know that he’s a match-winner. He’s proven himself over the past so many years and he can win us a game single-handedly. So we’re looking forward to it. Very much excited.”

(Read | ICC Champions Trophy: Eoin Morgan’s England have no weaknesses, says Virat Kohli)

Mathews is happy for Sri Lanka to fly under the radar at the Champions Trophy, which begins on June 1 and features the eight leading teams in the ODI rankings.

(Read | ICC Champions Trophy: ‘BCCI’s timing of head coach’s application process wrong’)

“All the teams are quite even and I think, especially in the past few months, we’ve had a few lapses here and there. Nobody will give us a chance, to be really honest,” Mathews reasoned.

“We’re happy to enter the tournament as underdogs, as anyone may call us. But, you know, we are confident. We prepared extremely well.

“We just want to take one game at a time, try and do our very best in that game and try and win it and look forward to the next.”

First Published: May 26, 2017 11:34 IST