Mumbai Indians on Wednesday announced that veteran Sri Lankan bowler Lasith Malinga has decided to retire from franchise cricket, a decision that he had informed the franchise earlier this month, hence making himself unavailable for the impending 14th edition of the Indian Premier League.
Mumbai Indians announced the news a few hours after they had announced their 18-member retention squad for IPL 2021 which did not feature Malinga.
Akash Ambani, Owner, Mumbai Indians, said, “Lasith Malinga has been at the core of Mumbai Indians for 12 years. We respect his decision, even though I would have liked to him to be part of our bowling attack for another 5 years.”
“Malinga is an MI legend. His contributions to Mumbai Indians’ journey are invaluable. We will miss the Wankhede chant for him, but he will always be in the heart of all MI fans. At Mumbai Indians, Malinga will always be a part of the MI family and we hope we can continue to lean on his experience in a non-playing capacity in the future.”
Malinga has played 122 matches in IPL, all for Mumbai Indians, and played an instrumental role in their four title wins, while taking 170 wickets which is the tournament record. He had also won the purple cap in 2011 with 28 wickets. Earlier, during the pandemic, he was also named as the GOAT bowler of IPL by Star Sports panel.
On his decision, Lasith Malinga said : “After discussing with family, I think now is the right time to retire from all franchise cricket. The Pandemic situation and the restrictions on travel will make it difficult for me given my personal circumstances to participate fully in franchise cricket for the next year and therefore it is best to make this decision now.
“I have discussed the same with Mumbai Indians management in recent days as they prepare for the upcoming auction and they have been very supportive and understanding. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Ambani family, everyone at the Mumbai Indians franchise and all our fans for the wonderful 12 years.
“Mumbai Indians has treated me like family, supporting me 100 % in every situation both on and off the field, and always giving me the confidence and the freedom to play my natural game whenever I walked onto the field.
“I have collected so many happy memories that I cherish and I am very grateful to have played for so long for the best franchise in world cricket. I would like to wish Mrs Nita Ambani, coach Mahela (Jayawardene), Akash (Ambani) and the MI family all the best for the upcoming season.”