In recent times, Sri Lankan cricket team is going through a tough phase as despite trying hard they faced a string of defeats. On Wednesday, it was announced that Lasith Malinga will be leading the squad in the remaining ODIs of the 5-match series against India as he can save the sinking ship of the Islanders.
During press-conference on the eve of the 4th ODI, Malinga expressed his views about their approach in the final ODIs. As per the quotes in Indian Express, Malinga said, “I feel we have good young players and a few experienced players. This is the time we have to stand up and give confidence to young players, that we’re still good enough to play international cricket. The team and I have to build a mentality whereby we don’t feel pressure”
Malinga will be leading the squad as regular skipper Upul Tharanga got suspended after the 2nd ODI while the stand-in skipper Chamara Kapugedera got injured in 3rd ODI. They have already lost the series, so, it will be difficult for Malinga to bring the team back. He said, “I want to do my best for my team and for the youngsters. Now the nation is looking forward to the next match. That’s why I want to use my experience and give all the confidence to the young players.”
Making a comeback after a gap of 19 months, Malinga is yet to get the regular rhythm back and looking vulnerable. In his last 10 ODIs. he has only picked 8 wickets and conceded more runs than expected. Describing the same, he said, “I didn’t play for 19 months due to my injury. Now I feel I am getting better. I am also working on the fitness. I am looking ahead to bowling the next ball and to get wickets in every match that I am given. I’m ready to play until 2023.”
Explaining the gameplan for the 4th ODI, Malinga said, “We can see every other country that is playing national cricket worldwide has a high number of experienced players in their eleven. At the moment we haven’t had that luxury. But we’ve had a few talented young players in Sri Lankan cricket. We want to give our experience to them. Then I feel they will do a better stuff for us over the next few years.’
The Sri Lankan slinger is on the verge of crossing a huge landmark as he has taken 299 wickets in 202 ODI till now. Talking about the milestone, Maling said, “I have no special aim to get 300 wickets. If I’m doing well for the country, that’s why I’m being kept in the team. I also have 299 wickets at the moment. I’ve played last 14 years in international and franchise cricket. Now I’m 34. My pace is cut down. If you asked me 10 years ago, I didn’t expect this. But whoever is coming towards the end of their careers, there is failure.”
The slinger Malinga concluded by talking about how Zaheer Khan helped him to improve, he said, “Zaheer has a good idea of how I’m going now. Then every time I have an opportunity, we speak about my bowling action, and how I have to improve. Zak is more of a seam and swing bowler, and I want to learn more of that kind of thing over the next few years. That’s what I talked with him.”