By Ranee Mohamed
He thought the matches were over. He was almost forced to get off the field. But bowling sensation Lasith Malinga tried to live - to live on as the legend he was. But the injury on his leg took him off the cricketing field, shut off the laughter, cheer and applause.
And he suffered in silence. Meanwhile the Cricket Board was getting this cricketer with a fearsome reputation all the treatment necessary to get him off the chair at home and back to the cricket field
`I suffered from February 22. It happened in Australia. Back at home too the pain was unbearable. The joint in my knee seemed to be rubbing together radiating pain. I was unable to walk let alone run. I was unable to climb the stairs,` said Lasith Malinga recalling a time that almost put an end to his legendary cricketing career.
`I tried every possible treatment. The Cricket Board too did their best for me. From ayurveda to allopathy, I passed through every system, but not the pain in my knee. It remained,` said Malinga.
Twenty five years is not a time to retire. Not after being described as a `distinctive and explosive` round arm fast bowler. Certainly not when one is rated as the fastest bowler in Sri Lanka. But his faltering leg was pushing him down to a premature retirement, not so much retirement but forcing him to abandon a game in which he was undoubtedly in the forefront the world over.
I could not walk
`I was sent to Australia and underwent treatment over there. I was treated by Dr. David Young. Dr. Young gave me medication along with the saline drip. I found that the pain lessened. The pain was not as unbearable as it is used to be, but it certainly did not go away. I could not walk, or climb staircases and found it difficult to get up from a sitting position,` remembered a bright-eyed Malinga, his memories about his dark times in life, equally clear in his mind.
`I was asked not to run. And I was not going to run anyway, because I could not run. I was given the assurance by several people that I will get better and that all I needed was some rest,` recalled Lasith Malinga.
Lasith Malinga in keeping with the advise given to him had rested for three months. Three months is a long time to be away from the game he loved so much. But Malinga was forced to make this sacrifice. And despite the long rest, his leg was not any better. Lasith Malinga found that the pain had not gone away and that he was not half as fast as he was in terms of mobility.
After many victories, Lasith Malinga was not getting ready for defeat. `I was getting ready to bow out of the game, from the field and from the love of my life - cricket,` he said. Malinga watched helplessly as his leg was crippling is lifelong career.
The telephone call
And it was just two weeks ago that he received the telephone call that changed his life. The telephone call was from none other than President Mahinda Rajapakse.
`Despite all the work and the numerous engagements and the commitments that President Mahinda Rajapakse had he took the time to give a telephone call and requested my captain and manager to convey to me that he - the President- needed to speak to me.
`I could not get over the shock and in amazement, I telephoned the President,` remembers Lasith Malinga.
`Inquiring in a very concerned manner as to what was wrong with my leg, he requested that I be present at Temple Trees on a given date. I was surprised and did not know what awaited me,` said Malinga.
When Lasith Malinga hobbled along to Temple Trees, he was greeted very warmly by the President.
`Together with the President was a fair, tall gentleman. He told me that his name was Dr. Eliyantha White and that he was the President`s personal physician. Then I remembered the name. I had read several newspaper articles about him and his powers and about how he had cured several people.
Could not contact
`In fact when I read the articles, I did try to contact Dr. Eliyantha White but I could not. But here he was on this day standing next to the President,` recalled Lasith Malinga.
Thereafter, Dr. Eliyantha White had commenced a five day course of treatment. `You will be better in five days,` Dr. Eliyantha White had told star cricketer Lasith Malinga.
The treatment surely did take five days - simple herbal medication infused with the amazing powers of Dr. Eliyantha White.
You will get better, the doctor had told Lasith Malinga - and he did not just get better - he became better than ever. Today Lasith Malinga can run, bowl and ride a bicycle. And he is bowled over by this amazing treatment.
No more pain
`I am not a person to believe in this kind of thing. But honestly it is amazing. I just can`t think what happened and how he did it. The pain has gone away,` said Malinga.
`After six months of X-rays, MRIs and bone scans, if this one person whom the President arranged for me to get treatment from could make me better in four days - then I really don`t know what it is. Truly it is a dream-treatment come true,` said Lasith Malinga.
`I am truly grateful to President Mahinda Rajapakse for being so considerate as to arrange this treatment for me through his personal physician. I owe a debt to President Mahinda Rajapakse, amidst all the things that are happening in this country, the President had time for me - he took time to arrange this treatment for me.
`I am truly grateful to the President and Dr. Eliyantha White for it is they who have sent me back to the cricket field. I take this opportunity to thank President Mahinda Rajapakse and Dr. Eliyantha White for giving me back my career, for without cricket I would have been lost in life,` said Malinga.
A four day course of treatment
Dr. Eliyantha White speaking to The Sunday Leader said that it was President Mahinda Rajapakse who had instructed him to treat cricketing star Lasith Malinga. `This is not the first time that the President has personally looked into the welfare of the ailing,` said Dr. White.
`Malinga`s case was a four day treatment after which the repair was fixed,` said Dr. White. The President has intervened and treated over 300 people who have been classed as `incurable.`
The complication involved in treating all the people who are trying to reach me is the need for the special herbs and the cost involved in obtaining such medicine. But very soon we will be able to, through a link obtained by the President, treat all in need. We have acted upon so many letters received at the Presidential Secretariat,` said Dr. Eliyantha White and went onto say that he will also be able to then treat all the names in the `lists.`