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Lasith Malinga, happy and proud, wants to play competitive cricket until 2023

Another six years in cricket is the target for Sri Lanka quick Lasith Malinga, who has no thoughts of retirement.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Aug 31, 2017 14:44 IST
lasith malinga,india vs sri lanka,cricket
Lasith Malinga’s cricket career has been hit by injuries. The 34-year-old will be leading Sri Lanka in the fourth One Day International against India in Colombo on Thursday.(PTI)

Sri Lanka paceman Lasith Malinga has outlined his determination to continue playing until 2023 amid questions over his fitness and longevity. (IND vs SL 4th ODI LIVE)

Lasith Malinga, who will captain Sri Lanka in the fourth one-day international against India on Thursday, returned from a knee injury that sidelined him for a year in February.

The 34-year-old missed 19 months of ODI action and has taken just eight wickets in 11 50-over matches since, leading to suggestions his best days may be behind him.

But Malinga remains confident he has plenty to offer and sees himself remaining in the game for another six years.

“I didn’t play for 19 months due to my injury. I’ve only played a couple of series since then. Now I feel I am getting better,” said Malinga.

“I’m doing treatment and all the rehabilitation. I am also working on the fitness. Now I feel really comfortable to bowl 10 overs and I bowl consistently.

“I am looking ahead to bowling the next ball and to get wickets in every match that I am given. I’m ready to play until 2023.

Lasith Malinga (C) plays football with teammates during a practice session at the R.Peremadasa Stadium in Colombo on August 30, 2017. ( AFP )

“As a bowler, I’ve not been able to get wickets in the last couple of series. A lot of people have talked about that. In fact, there has been more talk in the last couple of months than in 14 previous years that I’ve played, but I’m used to that.”

Malinga needs just one wicket to take his career ODI haul to 300, but he is not preoccupied with reaching the milestone.

Lasith Malinga (R) and Angelo Mathews warm up during a practice session at the R.Peremadasa Stadium in Colombo on August 30, 2017. The fourth ODI cricket match between Sri Lanka and India takes place in Colombo on August 31. ( AFP )

“I have no special aim to get 300 wickets,” he said. “If I’m doing well for the country, that’s why I’m being kept in the team. I also have 299 wickets at the moment. So I’m really happy and proud.

“I’ve played 14 years in international and franchise cricket. I’ve played every other country and every single player in national cricket. Now I’m 34. My pace is cut down. If you asked me 10 years ago, I didn’t expect this.

“But whenever someone is coming towards the end of their careers, there is failure. People talk about them not being fit enough, or not picking him.”

First Published: Aug 31, 2017 11:28 IST