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R Premadasa braces for Malinga farewell

  • Published at 02:00 pm July 25th, 2019
File photo of Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga smiling during a training session in Colombo in 2019 AFP

According to Sri Lanka Cricket officials, the tickets for the game got sold out with a day left to the game, and all this is just to bid farewell to the nation’s legendary pacer Lasith Malinga

The stands at R Premadasa Stadium are expected to be packed with supporters when host Sri Lanka take on Bangladesh in the first of the three-match ODI series Friday. 

According to Sri Lanka Cricket officials, the tickets for the game got sold out with a day left to the game, and all this is just to bid farewell to the nation’s legendary pacer Lasith Malinga.

The right-arm speedster is set to hang up his boots for good from the one-day format following this game, a decision driven by Malinga to allow the side to identify their next line of wicket-taking bowlers.

Bangladesh captain for the series, Tamim Iqbal admires Malinga as a cricketer and the contributions the Lankan has made in the game. 

However, the Tigers will not mind being the party-poopers when they take on the home side in the first game.

“(Friday) is a special match for him (Malinga). But one thing is for sure, when we play him we won't keep in mind that it's his last match and we will try to make it as tough for him as possible. We will try to win the match for Bangladesh cricket. It is really amazing the things he has achieved for Sri Lanka cricket and for the whole world. Best wishes to him from me and my teammates. I heard he will continue playing T20 cricket. I want to wish him good luck for that. But not much for [Friday's] match,” said Tamim, who is leading the Tigers in the absence of injured Mashrafe bin Mortaza.

“He is a great ambassador of cricket. I think he is a cricketer whom a lot of little players saw him play. He is that type of cricketer. Not only in Sri Lanka, but in the whole world. I remember when he first came to play, especially against Bangladesh. People wanted to bowl like him. Even when we came to play in Sri Lanka, we looked for bowlers in the nets who bowl like him. He had this type of impact in the cricketing world,” he added. 

The game Friday in Colombo’s R Premadasa Stadium will be Malinga’s 226th ODI for the Lankans. 

The death-over specialist will draw curtains to a 16-year old career finishing 10th in the list of highest wicket-takers, and third-most among his countrymen behind Muttiah Muralitharan (534) and Chaminda Vaas (400).  

Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne and his team will look for a win to have the perfect send off for Malinga. 

According to the left-handed batsman, Malinga was asked to be available for the full series, and for another few years. 

But the veteran thought best to make way for the next batch of pacers in the pipeline.

“The best thing we can give for (Lasith) is winning the match. Other than that we have discussed a few things in the dressing room, before we leave for the hotel. So those are the things. But mainly we want to focus on winning the match. That is the best thing we can do for him,” informed Dimuth in the pre-match press conference Thursday.

“He is a legend, he has done a really good job for more than 15 years. He has been Sri Lanka’s main bowler for the last few years and I think we will miss him. I think no one can replace him. We could have asked him to stay for a couple of more years. But he wanted to give chance to the youngsters. for grooming youngsters for the World Cup so we have accepted it. And we will try to give him the best farewell on this first one-day,” added the opening batsman.

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