Former England captain Kevin Pietersen on Monday revealed the reason why he backed Mumbai Indians veteran Lasith Malinga as the best bowler ever in Indian Premier League history. Pietersen was part of an esteemed jury of Star Sports on their flagship show Cricket Connected and the Sri Lankan T20I captain was part of a list of 10 other bowlers alongside Dale Steyn, Ashish Nehra, Sunil Narine and Jasprit Bumrah for the award.
Malinga has taken 170 wickets in 122 IPL matches which is the highest in the tournament history.
Despite overcoming a string of fitness issues, Malinga has been able to deliver pinpoint toe-crushers coupled with skillful variations over the last 12 years of the IPL that made him one of the most threatening bowlers to face at any stage of the game, and the unanimous choice for the GOAT bowler. In fact, it was Malinga's last over that gave Mumbai Indians their fourth title with a one-run, last-ball win in 2019.
Pietersen, part of the jury, backed his decision to choose Malinga for the coveted award and said on Cricket Connected,"I'm going with Lasith. You look at the numbers he has served up and the way he has consistently used that yorker, that makes everyone talk about it. Malinga is my guy. I would go with Narine, but he has bowled on wickets which helped turn. Also, he has been questioned on a few occasions for this suspect bowling action, so I am afraid to say that I am going with Malinga."
In addition, Malinga, the first Sri Lankan to claim four wickets in four deliveries, went past Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Imran Tahir and Yuzvendra Chahal, who were also part of the nominee list.
Besides winning Pietersen's vote, Malinga also found favour among Star Sports experts Dean Jones, Mathew Hayden, Aakash Chopra, Graeme Smith, Simon Doull, Ian Bishop and Tom Moody, who all voted for the Sri Lankan as their first choice for GOAT -- bowler.