Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga has been named bowling mentor of Mumbai Indians ahead of IPL 2018. Malinga, who has had a long-standing association with the franchise, will join the support staff headed by his former captain Mahela Jayawardene and comprising bowling coach Shane Bond, batting coach Robin Singh and newly appointed fielding coach James Pamment. This will be Malinga’s first official mentoring role with any side.
“It’s a great opportunity to be present with, and an honour to continue my association with Mumbai Indians,” Malinga was quoted as saying in a statement. “Mumbai has been my home away from home for the last decade. As a player, I have enjoyed the journey with Mumbai Indians and now as mentor, I look forward to the new chapter.”
In his long and distinguished international career, Malinga, 34, has featured in 30 Tests, 204 ODIs and 68 T20Is for Sri Lanka. He has also played 127 games for Mumbai Indians in the IPL and Champions League T20 and is the highest-wicket taker for the franchise with 179 scalps at an economy rate of 6.88. However, Malinga, who had set his base price at INR 1 crore (USD 156,000 approx) , went unsold at the IPL auctions last month. Considering his lofty standards, he had underachieved last season: Malinga picked up 11 wickets from 12 games at an economy rate of 8.52.
Malinga has been dogged by injuries over the last few years, and recently found himself out of the national side. Malinga, who has not played international cricket since a one-off T20I against India in September 2017, was “rested” for Sri Lanka’s T20I series in India. He was also left out of the touring squad to Bangladesh. Malinga subsequently said he didn’t know why he was being rested.