Indians confirm IPL helped tackle MalingaSeptember 14, 2012, 9:32 pm
by Rex Clementine
India’s Suresh Raina and Irfan Pathan yesterday said that fast bowler Lasith Malinga is less effective against them because they had played against the bowler regularly in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The same sentiments were uttered by Indian batsman Virender Sehwag last month. Malinga, one of world’s most feared fast bowlers, has an abysmal record against India.
"Yes last few series we have played him really well. Especially Virat Kohli. A lot of other guys in our team play him well too. Probably because we play him a lot in the IPL, that might have helped," Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan, who shared decisive partnerships in the fourth ODI and T-20 International against Sri Lanka last month said.
India won the recent series on Sri Lankan soil convincingly 4-1 and beat them in the one off T-20 as well. In one of those loses at Suriyawewa in the first ODI, Malinga went for 83 runs.
Malinga’s bowling average against India remains 40:88, way above his career average of 26:57. He has taken more than two wickets against India only once with his three for 64 coming in the last ODI against them at Pallekele being the best. Earlier this year, Indian batsmen scored 96 runs off him in Hobart during a tri-nation competition in Australia. On that occasion Malinga actually bowled less than eight overs.
"I think we have been playing him a lot in the IPL. We have improved against Malinga. Vriat has been playing well against him too and all of us are playing him well," batsman Suresh Raina, who had an excellent series when India were here, last month said.
Although Malinga remains the biggest weapon in the Sri Lankan bowling armoury, the bowler’s commitment to Sri Lankan cricket often has been a question. Last year, Malinga was in a collision course with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) when he was called up home from the IPL for training ahead of the national cricket team’s tour of England. The bowler after resisting calls for his return announced his retirement from Test cricket, perhaps becoming the youngest player at 27 to quit Tests.
The obvious reason for his premature retirement from Tests was IPL riches, but his British agent, whose influence in Sri Lankan cricket is mushrooming by the day, cleverly argued that a chronic knee ailment was the reason for him quitting Tests. The views of other leading and respected Sri Lankan cricketers (Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene) involved in the IPL and managed by the same agent were also brought in to support Malinga’s case and to avoid a public outcry. The agent won, at the cost of the interests of country’s cricket.
Although not available for Test cricket, Malinga remains a big attraction for various T-20 franchises. Later this year, Sri Lanka will travel to Australia for a three match Test series that includes a Boxing Day Test without Malinga, their premier bowler. However, he will be in Australia at the same time representing Melbourne Renegades in Australia’s domestic T-20 league known as Big Bash League.
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