Malinga happy to retire from T20s if Sri Lanka progress at World Cup

By Sports Desk January 04, 2020

Lasith Malinga would be open to retiring from Twenty20 internationals later this year, so long as he has helped Sri Lanka reach the T20 World Cup.

Paceman Malinga has already retired from Test and one-day cricket at international level, yet he intends to lead the team at this year's World Cup, the tournament they won in 2014.

Sri Lanka must come through a four-team group in the first round - playing Ireland, Papua New Guinea and Oman - in order to reach the Super 12 stage.

Malinga is willing to step aside whenever Sri Lanka ask him to, but he wants to see his nation safely through the qualifying stage in Australia.

"I've already retired from Tests and one-dayers," he told a news conference ahead of a T20 meeting with India. "It's [about] whatever is required for Sri Lanka cricket.

"If they say it's enough for me now then I'll be really happy to retire from T20 cricket also.

"But my only target is to be able to play the qualifying [first] round at the World Cup. If I play the qualifying round and the Sri Lanka team qualify for the World Cup, after that, I wouldn't mind any time I retire."

Sunday's opening T20 will see Malinga come up against Mumbai Indians team-mate Jasprit Bumrah.

The India star is the world's top-ranked ODI bowler, but he is making his return from a back injury and Malinga suggests that his lay-off could play in Sri Lanka's favour.

"As the number one [ODI] bowler, he's got the skill and accuracy," the veteran said. "But he's coming [back] after the injury and hasn't played much cricket for five or six months.

"After the injury, most of the bowlers struggle for the first few matches. We want to make that an advantage for us."

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