Colombo, Apr 21: Sri Lanka's selection committee has asked Lasith Malinga to return home from the Indian Premier League (IPL) and undergo rehabilitation after the fast bowler made himself unavailable for the upcoming Test series in England citing injury.
The SLC officials had yesterday cast doubt on Malinga's injury claims by stating that it was “awkward” that he continues to play for the cash-rich IPL while saying that he was unfit for the upcoming England tour.
Sri Lanka's new chairman of selectors Duleep Mendis has said that Malinga wrote to the Board to say he was unavailable for the three Tests starting in England from May 26.
“It looks a bit awkward when someone says he is injured and continues to play cricket. That is the reason why we have decided to write to Malinga and ask him to return home and undergo a rehabilitation programme,” said Mendis.
“Malinga has specifically mentioned in a letter that he is not available for Test matches right now because he has a nagging knee problem,” he added.
Malinga had said that he was nursing an injury but continued to play for Mumbai Indians in the Twenty20 League.
“When the player says that he is injured and he has to undergo a rehab programme what we can do is to tell him to undergo it immediately without continuing to play cricket in the IPL, and then get ready for cricket in Sri Lanka if he is interested in playing for his country,” explained Mendis.
The chief selectors further added that they would wait for Malinga's response before deciding on the next course of action.
Malinga has not been named in the Sri Lanka's 16-member squad for the three-match Test series against England starting on May 26 in Cardiff.
Meanwhile, expressing worry over Malinga's unavailability for the tour of England, SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said, “We are very much concerned about Malinga because he is an important product in the team.
“He should be up and running to play in all three formats of the game. In that sense getting him fit and ready to play at full strength is very important.”
Malinga has been avoiding playing Test cricket since the time he sustained a long-term knee injury more than two years ago.
And although he has not officially said that he is unavailable to play Test cricket for Sri Lanka but since December 2007, he has played only two Tests against India at home last year.
The pacer has mainly concentrated on playing One-dayers and Twenty20 cricket. PTI