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Lasith Malinga to hand over captaincy to Upul Tharanga, unsure of SL future

Lasith Malinga took his 300th ODI wicket when he dismissed Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli in the fourth match in Colombo on Thursday which Sri Lanka cricket team lost by 168 runs.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Sep 01, 2017 19:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India vs Sri Lanka,Sri Lanka vs India,SL vs IND
Sri Lankan cricket is going through a crisis after the poor showing in the Test and ODI series vs Indian cricket team, following which the selection led by Sanath Jayasuriya (R) has resigned. Lasith Malinga (L) is also going through a lean patch, and limited-overs skipper Upul Tharanga is under tremendous pressure to at least win the fifth and final ODI as a face-saving measure. (AFP)

Sri Lanka pacer Lasith Malinga has said he will assess his future in international cricket after the current limited-overs series against Indian cricket team, reiterating he will call it quits the moment his performance drops.

Malinga took his 300th ODI wicket when he dismissed Virat Kohli in the fourth match in Colombo on Thursday which Sri Lanka cricket team lost by 168 runs. The hosts are on the verge of suffering a second straight whitewash, after losing the Test series 3-0.

“I’m playing after 19 months following a leg injury. In the Zimbabwe and India series I couldn’t play well,” said Malinga. “ I’ll see where I’m at after this series, and evaluate how long I can play given the way my body is.

“No matter how experienced I am – if I can’t win a match for the team and do what the team needs, there’s no point in me being here,” added the 34-year-old pacer. “I’ll see if I can make up for that 19 months and regain that form over the next 3 or four months.”

A day before the fourth ODI, Malinga had expressed his hope of playing until the next World Cup. But based on his form lately, he admitted his future is up for consideration.

“I’ll see the number of games that I get. If not I’ll have to consider the state of my body, and what is expected of me. If I can’t deliver that, then I’ll happily retire,” he said

He will hand over captaincy to Upul Tharanga, who returns after a two-game ban due to the team’s slow over-rate in the second ODI in Pallekele.

‘Everyone is waiting for a win’

Malinga absolved Sri Lankan batsmen from any blame once again, highlighting that they need more experience and it was the bowlers’ job to contain the scoring on a flat batting track.

“We didn’t bowl well in this game. With the batsmen, we only had one experienced batsman – Angelo Mathews. Others are young players, but they need time,” explained Malinga. “They are still learning, I feel. I feel they don’t have much confidence to play their natural game, because the last couple of matches they lost and everyone wants to get runs.

“That’s why they really concentrated on trying to get runs, I feel. They aren’t playing their natural game. Everyone is waiting for a win,” he said.

“In the last couple of matches we lost and they didn’t get much runs, they feel they have to score every single match,” added Malinga. “That’s why we can’t get their maximum in this period. I think maybe in the next couple of months they will work hard and get good mentality. I hope for Sri Lankan cricket they perform well.”

The fifth and the final ODI of the series will be played in Colombo on September 3.

First Published: Sep 01, 2017 18:45 IST