Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma hailed Lasitha Malinga as a 'match-winner' after the veteran announced his retirement from franchise cricket on Wednesday. Malinga, a vital part of MI's set-up since the inception of the Indian Premier League (IPL), was released by the franchise when the announced their 18-member retention squad for IPL 2021. It was later revealed that the Sri Lankan had already informed the management about his decision to call it a day.
Malinga has featured in 122 matches in the IPL, all for Mumbai Indians, and played an instrumental role in their four title victories while taking 170 wickets which is the tournament record. He had also won the purple cap in 2011 with 28 scalps.
Sharing a picture with Malinga in the MI jersey, Rohit wrote, "One of the best the game has seen. Truly a match-winner, his presence around the squad will be missed @mumbaiindians.
The Mumbai outfit had issued an official statement on Wednesday, mentioning about Malinga's decision to retire from all franchise cricket.
On his decision, 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," Malinga further said.
Jasprit Bumrah also congratulated Malinga on a successful career and said that the IPL won't be the same without 'Mali'.
"It’s been an honour playing alongside you and picking your brain all these years, Mali. Congratulations on a successful career, the IPL won’t be the same without you," Bumrah wrote in his tweet.