Malinga retires from Tests to prolong international career

April 22nd, 2011 - 7:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, April 22 (IANS) Sri Lankan express-fast bowler Malinga Friday announced his retirement from Test cricket prolong his career in ODIs and Twenty20s.

Malinga, who was accused by his cricket board of feigning an injury to play in the Indian Premier League, said in a statement that he is quitting the longer version because of a “long-standing regenerative condition in the right knee.”

The pacer said he has taken the decision because he hopes to represent Sri Lanka in the 2012 World Twenty20 and the 2015 World Cup.

“Although I am sufficiently fit to play both ODI and T20 cricket, I have a long-standing degenerative condition in my right knee that needs to be carefully managed.

“I have carefully considered my options and have decided that not playing Test cricket will help me achieve my goal of representing Sri Lanka in the 2012 World Twenty20 and the 2015 World Cup,” Malinga said in the statement.

Malinga said his priority would be to represent Sri Lanka in as many ICC events as possible “I am fully available for selection for all Sri Lanka’s ODI and T20 matches.”

Known for his slinging action and toe-crushing yorkers, Malinga, 27 has 101 wickets from 30 Test matches.

Malinga made himself unavailable for the upcoming Test tour of England citing fitness issues. The Sri Lanka cricket board cast aspersions on him for continuing to play for Mumbai Indians in IPL. “It looks a bit awkward when someone says he is injured and continues to play cricket,” Sri Lanka’s new chairman of selectors Duleep Mendis had said.

The board wanted him to return home and go through a rehabilitation programme.

Malinga, who is the top wicket taker in this season’s IPL with 11 wickets from four matches, said he fears that playing Test could lead to permanent injury.

“I have realised that the heavy workload of Test cricket, which requires a fast bowler to be able to bowl more than 15 overs, sometimes on consecutive days, could lead to permanent injury.”

Malinga, who returned to Test fold after almost three years due to the injury, said he had informed the board that he wanted to reassess his Test future after the World Cup.

“After the tournament I decided that I needed to make myself unavailable for Test cricket in an effort to prolong my career as a national cricketer for Sri Lanka.

“I did try to return to Test cricket after a three-year absence last year following requests from the team management and the selectors, but it left me unfit nursing severe knee pain for two months.

“The condition relates directly to the chronic knee injury I sustained playing for
Sri Lanka in Australia back in February 2008, an injury that prevented me from playing ODI cricket for 16 months.

“The injury was a career-threatening injury and my orthopaedic surgeon was of the opinion that given his experience with other professional athletes in Australia I was very fortunate to play again.”

“I have since been advised by the national team physiotherapist and my orthopaedic consultant that my condition will deteriorate when fielding or bowling for prolonged periods,” Malinga said, adding he would discuss his future plans with the selectors after returning home.

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