Sri Lankan limited-overs captain and legendary fast bowler Lasith Malinga has announced that he will retire from international cricket after next year's Twenty20 World Cup. Malinga revealed that he would quit playing One-day Internationals (ODIs) after the ICC Cricket World Cup in England later this year before bidding goodbye to the game altogether after the Twenty20 tournament, to be played in Australia over October-November 2020.
"After the World Cup, my cricketing career is ending," the 35-year-old said yesterday after his team lost the T20I series against hosts South Africa on Friday as they were beaten by 16 runs in the second Twenty20 international at SuperSport Park.
"I want to play in the T20 World Cup and then end my career," Malinga added.
Earlier, the yorker-specialist had made himself unavailable for Mumbai Indians' first six matches of the Indian Premier League (IPL) as he will be participating in Sri Lanka's Super Provincial One-Day domestic tournament, slated from April 4 to April 11, in a bid to make it to the World Cup team.
"I had asked the board for the No-Objection Certificate for me to play in the IPL, and they had said that was fine, but that all players who want to go to the World Cup would need to stay back for the provincial tournament," Malinga told ESPNcricinfo.
"So I told them I'd play in the provincial tournament, and I asked the board to inform Mumbai Indians and IPL since it was their decision. I'm ok with losing those earnings from IPL. I'm doing it for the country," said the Sri Lankan, who was bought by Mumbai Indians for Rs 2 crore.
Malinga, who had worked as a bowling mentor for Mumbai Indians last year, suggested that his franchise should replace him with someone else.
"Once I become available for Mumbai Indians, I would have missed seven or eight games," he said.
"So there's probably no point in them waiting around for me. Better for them to find someone else to replace me with."
Malinga is currently the ODI skipper and it is highly likely that he would be picked in Sri Lanka's World Cup squad given that he has again emerged as the team's best ODI bowler over the past six months.
If he makes the cut, Malinga will need to attend training camps through May, missing the IPL.
(With PTI inputs)