Lasith Malinga’s injury has come a big blow for Sri Lanka, just before the World Cup 2015. Earlier this month, we reported that Lasith Malinga would be undergoing an ankle surgery, which will rule him out of competitive cricket for the next four months, making him a doubtful selection for the World Cup 2015. Lasith Maling is the spearhead of Lankan bowling unit and his absence, if it happens, could be a deciding factor as far as Sri Lanka’s chances in the World Cup 2015 are concerned.
Lasith Malinga has played 177 One Day International (ODI) matches for Sri Lanka. In these 177 ODIs, he has taken 271 wickets at a very impressive strike rate of 31.2. Lasith Malinga is one of the most skillful bowlers in limited overs cricket, in the world. With his slinging action, it becomes very difficult for the batsmen to pick his variations. Malinga is a very versatile bowler. He can bowl at any stage of the innings, and you would trust him to do the job 7 out of 10 times.
- He can bowl conventional swing very effectively with the new ball.
- His variations often result in breaking key partnerships in the middle overs.
- He is most effective with the old ball. His reverse-swing and toe-crushers are very difficult to get away in the death overs.
Lasith Malinga’s role in the Sri Lankan team is not only restricted to his bowling. He also acts as a link between the senior pros like Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, and the youngsters. Malinga’s leadership abilities were highlighted during the T20 World Cup 2014, where he took over from Dinesh Chandimal in the middle of the tournament and won the first ever T20 World Cup trophy for Sri Lanka.
With doubts towering over Malinga’s fitness and his availability for the World Cup 2015, the biggest question for Sri Lanka is- “who will replace Lasith Malinga in the all important World Cup?”
Although, there are chances that Lasith Malinga might make it to the World Cup squad, Sri Lanka’s team management should still start exploring the options. The primary options available with Sri Lanka are Damika Prasad, Shaminda Eranga and Suranga Lakmal.
Lasith Malinga is a champion bowler, and in the last 5 years or so, Sri Lanka have been depending on him as far as their bowling department is concerned. It’s impossible to replace a match-winner like Lasith Malinga, but still, Sri Lanka must have the back-up ready in case Lasith Malinga remains unfit for the selection.