FAST bowler Lasith Malinga, who led Sri Lanka to victory at the 2014 Twenty20 World Cup, on Tuesday (14) quit T20 internationals to complete his retirement as a player.
The 38-year-old, one of the most successful limited-overs bowlers of all time with his distinctive ‘sling’ action, said he would now devote himself to supporting the next generation of cricketers.
Malinga, who was dropped for Sri Lanka’s current T20 series against South Africa, had been considering giving up since leading the team when it lost 2-0 to India in January last year.
“I have decided to retire from T20I cricket marking my retirement from all formats of cricket,” he said on his Facebook page.
“But, I will be continuously supporting the younger generations,” he added.
“While my shoes will rest, my love for the game will never ask for rest.”
Malinga has been a top attraction at the Indian Premier League (IPL) and other limited-overs tournaments around the world.
His greatest moment, however, was leading Sri Lanka to the T20 World Cup title in Bangladesh in 2014.
Sri Lanka beat India by six wickets in the final, with Malinga frustrating the Indian batsmen with yorkers in the death overs.
Malinga is the leading all-time T20 international wicket-taker with 107 scalps. He took 338 wickets in one-day internationals, making him one of the top 10 bowlers in the format.
He is the only bowler with two World Cup hat-tricks to his name and one of only two players to have taken four wickets in four consecutive balls in international cricket.
Malinga has not played a match since leading Sri Lanka in a T20 series against West Indies in March last year. His side lost the series and in his final game, he failed to get any wickets in his three overs that cost 46 runs.
In November, he backed out of the inaugural Lanka Premier League, saying he had not had enough practice to take part.
His return to the top job in December 2018 had been a surprise as he had suffered several injuries that had forced him to sit out several tournaments.
He retired from one-day internationals in July 2019 after a career that began in 2004. His last Test was in 2010, after which he gave up to concentrate on limited-overs cricket.
His teammate from the 2014 final and current MCC president Kumar Sangakkara paid tribute to Malinga’s “awesome career”.
“Your contribution to Sri Lanka and world cricket will stand for all time,” he said on Twitter.