Diving into Lasith Malinga's impact on international cricket
Now-former Sri Lanka cricket captain Lasith Malinga decided to announce his retirement from all forms of cricket. He was a legendary player back in his day. Let’s look back at his wonderful career which has touched so many people around the world.
Malinga was the captain and kingpin in the Sri Lankan system over the years. He was their most successful T20I bowler which is evident with all of his contributions to the Sri Lankan system during his career. He ended his career as the most prolific T20I bowler for the country.
Former captain and teammate Kumar Sangakkara was the first man to celebrate and congratulate Lasith. Kumar said, ‘Congrats on an awesome career. Your contribution to Sri Lanka and world cricket will stand for all time. Been such a pleasure playing with you. All the very best in what you decide to do from now. So much knowledge to give. Legend’.
That is high praise coming from Kumar who was a great player in his own right. It just goes to show that Lasith has such a big impact on the Sri Lankan cricket system.
Factors that played into his retirement
During his career, Lasith struggled with injuries. The biggest problem would have to be the chronic knee issues that weakened him throughout his career. The most prominent injury would have to be the ankle injury that he suffered back in 2014. That took him out for a long while which hampered a good chunk of his career.
Lasith was known for his unorthodox bowling style which helped him win more wickets in the T20I format. He played every format before but he stepped away from Test cricket in 2011 and one-day internationals in 2015. He exclusively played T20 games after that which ended in a match against the West Indies in March 2020.
Lasith announced his retirement on his Twitter page. He wrote, ‘Hanging up my T20 shoes and retiring from all forms of cricket. Thankful to all those who supported me in my journey and looking forward to sharing my experience with young cricketers in the years to come’.
At 38 years of age, it should be obvious that his body is struggling to keep up with the rest of the cricket scene that is leaning towards young and stronger players.
Lasith leaves a lasting legacy
When you look at Sri Lankan cricket, it is hard to see the system without Lasith as one of its main leaders. Now that he has retired, he will likely stay away from the scene unless he wants to be a coach or a front office member. It will be interesting what he does next because he is still valued by many, including cricket fans from other countries.
Lasith was a fantastic player but he was also a good person. That is what other players saw in him because he was always genuine during matches even if they were opponents. One of the players who spoke out about his retirement is Indian legend Rohit Sharma. He said that Lasith is a champion cricketer who had a wonderful career.
Most Sri Lankan players and fans don’t believe that there will ever be a bowler as good as Lasith. He was that popular among the people in the nation because he touched so many hearts over the years. It is a shame that he has to retire but Father Time is undefeated in sports. Hopefully, he can carve out a healthy and solid career outside of cricket after this.
Words: Cholo Martin