Player Profile

Separamadu Lasith Malinga
Sri Lanka
Born August 28, 1983 ( 36 Yrs )
Birth Place Galle
Height
Known As Separamadu Lasith Malinga Swarnajith
Player Role Bowler
Player Bat Style Right Handed Bat
Player Bowl Style Right-arm fast

Career Information - Teams

Sri Lanka, Mumbai Indians, Nondescripts Cricket Club, Middlesex, Ruhuna Royals, Melbourne Stars, Ruhuna Reds, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Jamaica Tallawahs, St Lucia Zouks, Stellenbosch Kings, Rangpur Riders, Dambulla, Montreal Tigers, Kandy, Khulna Titans, Galle, Maratha Arabians


ICC Rankings

TEST ODI T20
Batting
Bowling
All Rounder

Profile

Bleached hair, tattoos, pierced eyebrows and the flamboyance of a star, Lasith Malinga was truly Sri Lanka's pin-up boy. It helps when you have the skill set to back it up, and Malinga had it in plenty. That ball kiss before every delivery, that freaky sling as he bowled and the curl the ball took at 145ks has broken many a toe and has carved out a niche for itself in annals of world cricket. In a land where pitches were only a nicer term for rank turners and a giant in the form of Muttiah Muralitharan operated, Malinga prospered far beyond his shadow to shine in what ended up being Sri Lankan cricket's golden period in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

Starting off

Like the many kids growing up in Sri Lanka, Malinga started his cricket on the beach. An action as unique as his, where the ball is released almost parallel to the surface rather than the conventional perpendicular is bound to make you stand out. So the already locally-famous kid on the beaches of Galle with the tennis ball caught former Sri Lankan pacer, Champaka Ramanayake's attention. An out-of-the-box action demanded out-of-the-box training methods. Ramanayake would glue a pair of boots to the crease and Malinga would spend hours hitting them, hence perfecting his famed yorker.

His raw talent wouldn't be hidden for long, creating ripples in the domestic circuit leading to him getting fast-tracked into national reckoning. He did start off with Tests, in Australia in 2004, where his skiddy pace saw him among the wickets, but his true calling came in the coloured outfits. With an armoury that boasted of variations by the dozen, nobody could've been surprised.

Soaring high

First some facts. He's the only player in the history of the game to have taken four wickets off four consecutive deliveries in an ODI, a feat which made Sir Viv Richards gush and proclaim Malinga to be the 'best thing to have happened to Sri Lankan cricket after Aravinda de Silva.' With the likes of Jayawardene, Dilshan, Jayasuriya, Muralitharan and Sangakkara as well, Sri Lanka had truly become a global superpower in cricket and Malinga had a massive role to play.

Given his bad history with injuries, which meant numerous surgeries and numerous comebacks, he was always the most potent threat in the ODI side. Despite losing pace and fizz in his bowling towards the latter stages of his career, he's ended up with four international hat-tricks, the only person after Wasim Akram to have as many, and 300 ODI wickets. Also, thanks to the multiple leagues he plays in, he is the second highest wicket-taker in all T20 cricket.

IPL - through the years

In 2008, riding high on the success of his double hat-trick blow and his yorker reputation, he was picked up by the Mumbai Indians for a whooping 350,000 dollars. This started a ten-year long association with the franchise, at the end of which his CV read - three IPL titles, two Champions Leagues and a purple cap. In a league where even the best of names where shunted around teams, he remained one rare example where his performances brought him retainers after retainers.

The mutual loyalty complicates his equation SLC. His unwillingness to play for the local Lankan side in the Champions League was one such example. The tipping point however came in the 2011 season, when Malinga announced his retirement from Tests on being picked for a training camp that coincided with that year's season citing a 'knee injury', but continues to play in the IPL. But in neighbouring India, he was a star, an icon.

The association with Mumbai turned into that of a bowling mentor in the eleventh season, before the franchise were quick to realize that were going nowhere without the master's death bowling exhibition and soon lapped him back as a player in the 2019 season. And boy, he was a delight, saving his best for the finals to lift his side to their fourth crown.

World T20 2014

Bridesmaids through the 2000s and the 2010s when the ICC World events came along, Sri Lanka had made it to two World Cup finals and two World T20 finals since Malinga debuted, losing on all four occasions. The World T20 of 2014 started with a crisis in leadership. With a host of former skippers in the side, but all of them reluctant to lead, Malinga turned into an accidental leader towards the end of the league stages when the management decided to drop their original skipper, Dinesh Chandimal.

And boy, did he prosper. Bowling yorkers at the death at will to stifle the Indians, he ensured that the trophy finally came home - leading Sri Lanka to one of its finest moments on the cricketing field. It made him only the second captain of his country after Arjuna Ranatunga to lift an ICC World Cup.

Injuries

Malinga's first tryst with injuries came in 2008 in the form of a knee injury, one that derailed his Test career. It meant sporadic appearances over the next couple of years, studded with weeks of rehab - from surgery to Ayurveda. It was followed by an ankle problem that flared up towards the end of his career. Post this surgery though, he was a diminished force, a pale shadow of himself.

Acting in tandem with his earlier troubled knee, he merely ambled through the 2015 World Cup. The toll it took was such that he had to step down and withdraw from leading the side in the 2016 World T20 as Sri Lanka looked to defend their title.

Just when it looked like his international career was almost done, something even he admitted to, barring an official announcement, he returned to the ODI fold for the 2018 Asia Cup - visibly fitter, thinner, quicker and a lot more accurate. Given the sheer dearth of resources and confidence Sri Lanka face leading up to the 2019 World Cup, Malinga's experience could just be the tonic they need.

Nevertheless, once done, he can look back at his journey as one that transformed the entire notion of fast bowling in the world.

World Cup through the years
Having become a household name for his unique action and his lethal yorkers by 2007, Malinga got the world to sit up and take further notice of his capabilities at the World Cup in the Caribbean. Finishing with 18 wickets in eight matches to end up as the fifth-highest wicket taker, he played a stellar role in taking Sri Lanka to the finals. His best moment came against South Africa, when they were cruising home with five runs to get and with five wickets remaining. He, however, produced a dream spell knocking out four wickets off four consecutive deliveries, making him the first bowler in history to pull off such a feat. 

By 2011 he was at the peak of his powers and would get on a roll as he cleaned up lower-order batsmen. Having been injured through the initial half of the tournament but made amends to his wickets' tally as he picked up yet another hat-trick against Kenya on his way to a six-fer. In the semi-finals, he brought his experience to the fore, picking up wickets at regular intervals to break New Zealand's back and to keep them to a
modest total. He ended the tournament as the second-highest wicket-taker for his side with 13 wickets. His performances mirrored that of Sri Lanka in 2015 - that of sporadic joy - as his pace dropped, hence lessening the impact of his disguised slower ones and made his yorkers easier to deal with. Although on the expensive side against some of the bigger teams, he still was the highest Lankan wicket-taker in the tournament with 12 wickets. Now, in 2019, fresh from trysts with captaincy, possible retirement and a stunning final over to seal the IPL title for Mumbai, he returns in the hope of his skill and experience carrying the struggling Sri Lankan hopes.

Written by - Vineet Anantharaman [June 2019]


Career

TEST debut vs Australia at Marrara Cricket Ground, Jul 01, 2004
Last TEST vs India at P Sara Oval, Aug 03, 2010
ODI debut vs United Arab Emirates at Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, Jul 17, 2004
Last ODI vs Bangladesh at R.Premadasa Stadium, Jul 26, 2019
T20 debut vs England at The Rose Bowl, Jun 15, 2006
Last T20 vs Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Nov 01, 2019
IPL debut vs Chennai Super Kings at Newlands, Apr 18, 2009
Last IPL vs Chennai Super Kings at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, May 12, 2019

Batting Career Summary

M Inn NO Runs HS Avg BF SR 100 200 50 4s 6s
ODI 226 120 37 567 56 6.83 761 74.51 0 0 1 45 21
T20 79 30 12 128 27 7.11 153 83.66 0 0 0 9 4
Test 30 37 13 275 64 11.46 619 44.43 0 0 1 36 6
IPL 122 25 9 88 17 5.5 99 88.89 0 0 0 6 5

Bowling Career Summary

M Inn B Runs Wkts BBI BBM Econ Avg SR 5W 10W
ODI 226 220 10936 9759 338 38/6 38/6 5.35 28.87 32.36 8 0
T20 79 79 1709 2061 106 6/5 6/5 7.24 19.44 16.12 2 0
Test 30 59 5209 3349 101 50/5 210/9 3.86 33.16 51.57 3 0
IPL 122 122 2827 3365 170 13/5 13/5 7.14 19.79 16.63 1 0