Lasith Malinga is set to bring down the curtains on his illustrious ODI career after the first game of the three-match series against Bangladesh in Colombo on July 26, Dimuth Karunaratne confirmed in a press conference on July 22.
“He is going to play the first match. After that he is retiring. That’s what he said to me. I don’t know what he said for the selectors but for me he said he is playing only one match,” Karunaratne said.
Should he go ahead with this plan, Malinga will end his career as the third-highest wicket taker in the format for Sri Lanka with 335 scalps. He’s 10th on the overall wicket-takers’ list, but has the chance to usurp Anil Kumble (337 wickets).
His last ODI at the R Premadasa stadium in Colombo will also give him the opportunity to take his wickets tally at the venue to 50 if he picks a single wicket in the game.
Irrespective of his returns on Friday, Malinga will bow out as one of the finest white-ball bowlers to have graced the game for Sri Lanka – bringing his unique penchant and accuracy for bowling yorkers to the game. The 35-year-old also battled injuries and fitness woes to fight on and feature in the 2019 World Cup.
His 4 for 43 was perhaps one of the finest spells of bowling at the showpiece event, which didn’t just stun the eventual champions England in a low-scoring chase but also blew the competition wide open, making teams keep their jostle for the knockouts spot alive till the very end of the league stage.