The bond that Sri Lanka has with cricket is simply inseparable. It undoubtedly happens to be a reason that took the name of this splendid island to the world. However, there are several Sri Lankan cricket players that we can never forget when talking about Sri Lanka cricket. Indeed, Lasith Malinga is one of the highlights among them. As you might already know, Lasith Malinga retired from all forms of cricket, a few days back. Thus, we thought that this would be the best time to recall the golden memories that Malinga added to the cricket field, as well as to appreciate his contributions to the field of Cricket. So, we dedicated this read to this most-loved iconic Sri Lankan cricket player, Lasith Maling. Continue reading and get to know about him!
Who is Lasith Malinga?
Winning the hearts of all cricket lovers throughout the world with the nickname of “Slinga Malinga”, Separamadu Lasith Malinga happens to be one of the greatest limited-overs bowlers of all time that Sri Lanka could produce so far. He was the captain of Sri Lanka’s cricket team during the 2014 T20 World Cup win. He was a right-arm fast bowler. Besides, his distinctive round-arm action, which people called the sling action, directly led the way to his nickname “Slinga Malinga”.
The unique unorthodox action and dipping slower ball Yorkers lead Malinga to the pinnacle of success. Further, Lasith Malinga’s significant ability to take consecutive wickets made him well known in the cricket world. Malinga is the only bowler to have two World Cup hat-tricks ever in cricket history. In addition, his name is written in the history of cricket as the only bowler who could achieve three hat-tricks in ODIs and one of only two players who could take four wickets in four consecutive balls. Similarly, he became the first-ever in history to take five hat-tricks in any form of international cricket. Moreover, the record for most hat-tricks in international cricket comes under his name.
In April 2011, Lasith Malinga retired from Test Cricket. Later, in 2019, Malinga played his last One Day International cricket match in the first ODI against Bangladesh. During the series against New Zealand in September 2019, Malinga was able to achieve another historical record. It is being the first bowler to take 100 wickets in Twenty20 International cricket as well as the first bowler to achieve two T20I hat-tricks and four wickets in four consecutive balls. However, announcing his retirement from all forms of cricket, Lasith Malinga retired in September 2021.
Early Life and Education of Lasith Malinga
Lasith Malinga was born on the 28th of August in 1983 in Galle. He spent his childhood in Rathgama which was a coastal village located about 10 kilometers away from Galle town. There he met a cluster of cricket-obsessed people. Thus, he spent all his childhood on the sandbanks and coconut groves playing cricket with his mates.
Malinga was from a middle-class family in Sri Lanka, where his father Separamadu Milton, was a bus mechanic. Malinga received his primary education from Vidyathilake Vidyalaya in Thiranagama. After passing the Grade 5 Scholarship Examination he got the chance to enter Vidyaloka College in Galle. Later, he got the chance to enter Mahinda College in Galle during his secondary education stage.
Malinga started his cricket career at Vidyaloka College in Galle. While a match took place in Vidyaloka College, former Sri Lankan paceman Champaka Ramanayake discovered this young man with his raw ability. He opened the door for Malinga to enter the Galle Cricket Club as well as the first XI cricket team of Mahinda College in Galle. Malinga believes that it was the turning point of his cricket career. However, Malinga didn’t pick up hard-ball cricket until his teenage years. But, fast-bowling coaches like Anusha Samaranayake and Champaka Ramanayake discovered his talent and brought him to the domestic system. Accordingly, Lasith Malinga’s years were nurtured under them.
In 2010, Malinga married Tanya Perera who is a popular choreographer and dancer by profession. They have got a son and a daughter.
International Cricket Career of Lasith Malinga
Lasith Malinga represented Sri Lanka in all forms of international cricket. His lively pace and well-directed bouncer troubled batsmen of all types. Earning a vast reputation in Cricket World, Malinga had a successful career in cricket from 2004 to 2021. The following sections will enlighten you more about the significant milestones in his cricket career.
Entering Sri Lanka Cricket
Malinga was lucky enough to perform his first debut on 1st July 2004 against Australia. This took place in Marrara Oval In Darwin where he was able to take six wickets. Becoming the 123rd Sri Lankan player to enter the ODI history of Sri Lanka, Lasith Malinga performed his ODI debut in 2004 against the United Arab Emirates in the Asia Cup. There he was able to take the wicket of the Emirati captain, Khurram Khan. Thus, the match led to an easy victory. Lasith Malinga’s performances in debuts made him a regular member of the ODI squad.
Lasith Malinga played for both Test and One Day Internationals and became the fastest Test bowler on the team. His bowling speed ranged between 140 and 150 km/h regularly, sometimes far beyond. But, the speed was reduced with the time up to 130 and 140 km/h. As a result, in order to have a prolonged career in T20 and One Day International cricket, he decided to retire from Test cricket. Accordingly, he announced his retirement from Test cricket in April 2011.
Malinga at Golden World Cups
Malinga scored his first hat-trick in a Super 8 match between Sri Lanka and South Africa in the 2007 Cricket World Cup. Taking four wickets in four consecutive balls, he became the first bowler to do so in One Day International cricket. In addition, it was the 3rd hat-trick performed by a Sri Lankan as well as the 5th hat-trick in World Cup history. Furthermore, during the 2011 Cricket World Cup, he was successful enough to record his second career hat-trick. This took place in Sri Lanka’s group stage match against Kenya. This achievement made him the 4th player to take two hat-tricks in all One Day International cricket as well as the 1st bowler to take two hat-tricks in cricket World Cup history.
Considering Malinga’s significant achievements in the 2011 World Cup, the International Cricket Council (ICC) named him the 12th man in the World ODI XI. In the same way, the ICC named him the World ODI XI for 2012 and 2013. Moreover, ESPNCricinfo named Malinga the ‘Team of the Tournament’ for the 2009 T20I World Cup, and the ICC named him the ‘Team of the Tournament’ for the 2012 T20 World Cup.
Lasith Malinga suffered a knee injury as well as a back injury soon after his West Indies tour. As a result, he planned not to participate in the Indian tour and New Zealand tour so as to get a fast recovery to participate in the 2016 ICC World Twenty20. The Sri Lanka Cricket Board appointed Malinga as the captain for the 2016 Asia Cup. Unfortunately, he was only able to play against the United Arab Emirates due to a knee injury. He had to skip all the remaining matches and Sri Lanka could not win a single match. Meanwhile, Lasith Malinga was announced as the captain of the team of the 2016 ICC World Twenty20. But, due to his continuous injuries, he had to step down from captaincy. Thus, Angelo Mathews became the captain of Sri Lanka cricket in all formats.
Even though Sri Lankans wished for Malinga’s presence in the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 matches, he could not recover from the bone bruise in his left knee. Thus, he returned back to Sri Lanka saying goodbye to the 2016 ICC World Twenty20.
Lasith Malinga as the Captain
In October 2012, Lasith Malinga became the vice-captain of the Sri Lankan Twenty20 International team. Later, since Dinesh Chandimal received a ban, Sri Lanka Cricket Board appointed Lasith Malinga as the captain of the Sri Lankan Cricket Team in the 2014 ICC World Twenty20, in which he could lead the team to win the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 World Cup. Unfortunately, he had to give up the captaincy due to his continuous back and knee injuries in 2015.
Further, due to an injury to the permanent captain who led the team in 2016, Malinga had to guide the team as the ODI captain against India. However, Sri Lanka could not win the match in that game. Malinga again got the chance to hold the captaincy as the limited over captain for the New Zealand tour that took place in 2018.
Malinga’s International Comeback
After Malinga’s departure from the T20I match against UAE in March 2016 due to injuries, he stayed home for a 1 year period without participating in any domestic and international cricket match. Due to his absence, Sri Lanka recorded heavy defeats during the matches with Australia, England, and Zimbabwe Tri-series. This took down Sri Lanka in international rankings. Malinga recovered from his injuries in late December and he planned to play for the South Africa series. Unfortunately, he could not participate in the series as he was subjected to dengue.
After a long stay, Malinga arrived back on the field for a match with Australia in February 2017. In this, he was able to take two wickets and two catches where the match ended up with a great victory. In April 2017 Malinga took another hat trick Against Bangladesh during the second T20I. Thus, he became the 5th overall and 2nd Sri Lankan bowler to achieve a T20I hat-trick.
In June 2017, Malinga played his first ODI comeback match against South Africa in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. But, he could not play well in this. Furthermore, during the Indian ODI series, Malinga had to lead the team as the stand-in captain for the fourth ODI. In this match, Malinga recorded his 300th ODI wicket by dismissing Virat Kohli. Despite his achievement, Sri Lanka lost the series.
In the second ODI of the series against England in 2018, Malinga completed 500 international wickets. In addition, he achieved his 8th five-wicket haul during this match. Since Malinga’s comeback, he was not successful enough in bowling as well as fielding as earlier. He needed to play for Sri Lanka until Cricket World Cup in 2019, thus he did not announce his retirement from One Day International cricket.
Lasith Malinga played his final One Day International cricket match at R. Premadasa Stadium on the 26th of July 2019. It was the first ODI against Bangladesh. The stadium was packed up with his fans with banners citing “Our Slinga Our Pride” and “Thank You Mali”. In the last over of his ODIs, he dismissed Mustafizur Rahman and became the 9th highest wicket-taker in One Day International cricket with 338 dismissals.
Malinga’s Post-ODI Retirement
Sri Lanka Cricket board appointed Malinga as the captain for the T20I series which took place against New Zealand. However, the team was full of young cricketers having less experience. In this match, Malinga was able to become the highest wicket-taker in Twenty20 Internationals reaching the count of 98 wickets. However, Sri Lanka was unable to win the match.
In the same series, completing the milestone of 100 wickets, his name was recorded in the T20I history as the first cricketer to take 100 wickets. During the same series, Malinga completed his fifth hat-trick. It is his second hat-trick in T20Is as well. Thus, he became the only bowler to achieve five international hat-tricks as well as two T20I hat-tricks. In the same match, taking four consecutive wickets, Malinga became the only bowler in the world to take two four-in-four wickets.
Later in November 2020, Lasith Malinga became a nominee for the “ICC Men’s ODI and T20I Cricketer of the Decade” awards due to his amazing talents. After making a significant lead as the highest wicket-taker in T20Is with 107 wickets, Lasith Malinga announced his retirement from all forms of cricket through his official YouTube channel on the 14th of September 2021.
Malinga’s T20 Franchise Career
Lasith Malinga continued his T20 franchise career with the Indian Premier League, Global T20 Canada, and Lanka Premier League. However, he announced his retirement from all T20 franchise cricket on 20th January 2021.
Indian Premier League (LPL)
Lasith Malinga joined Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008 and played for team Mumbai Indians. He was the leading bowler of the team. In the same way, considering in terms of wickets taken, he was the leading bowler in the competition. During the fourth season of the Indian Premier League, Malinga took 5 wickets against Delhi Daredevils in his first match for the Mumbai Indians. In this season, he was able to win the Purple Cap award for achieving the most wickets.
In the 2013 Indian Premier League Malinga took his 100th IPL wicket against the Kings XI Punjab team. Accordingly, he became the first bowler in the Indian Premier League history to take 100 wickets. Malinga was honored as the “All-time Cricinfo IPL XI” during the 10-year anniversary celebrations of IPL. In the 2018 Indian Premier League, Malinga was the bowling mentor of Mumbai Indians. In 2019, he was back to play with Mumbai Indians. However, he did not participate in the 2020 Indian Premier League due to some personal issues.
Global T20 Canada
Lasith Malinga was one of the ten marquee players who were selected to play in the first edition of the Global T20 Canada cricket tournament. In June 2018, he played for the Montreal Tigers, taking 13 wickets in 6 matches. Therefore, he became the leading wicket-taker in the tournament.
Lanka Premier League (LPL)
The Galle Gladiators team drafted Lasith Malinga as one of their players for the inaugural edition in the Lanka Premier League that took place in October 2020. But, he left the team informing the reason as to lack of match practice. As a result, his fans were not happy regarding this, he received criticism from Sri Lankan cricket lovers.
What is the Bowling Style of Lasith Malinga?
Lasith Malinga has a unique and attractive bowling action. People believe that his delivery action is similar to “slinging”. Thus, it resulted in the arrival of his nickname, “Slinga Malinga”. Malinga believes that learning to play cricket with a tennis ball resulted in his round arm bowling action which is unique to him.
Records of Lasith Malinga
Sir Viv Richards once admired that after Aravinda de Silva, Lasith Malinga is the best thing that happened to Sri Lankan cricket. Lasith Malinga’s impressive bowling talents lead Sri Lanka to victory not once, but for years. In the same way, these talents lead him to achieve the following records in all formats of cricket.
- Malinga is the only bowler in cricket history to take two four-wicket hauls in four consecutive balls. The first happened in March 2007 and the second happened in 2019 against South Africa and New Zealand respectively.
- Malinga was the first bowler in T20I history to record 100 wickets.
- He became the first to take 100 wickets in all international Tests, ODIs, and T20Is formats.
- Achieving three hat-tricks in One-Day International cricket, he became the first and the only bowler to do so.
- Taking 390 scalps, he stands as the 4th in the queue of highest wicket-takers across all forms of T20 cricket. He is only behind Imran Tahir, Dwayne Bravo, and Sunil Narine.
- Taking the higher number of fifers in Twenty20 Internationals with 2, Lasith Malinga holds a joint record with Ashton Agar, Imran Tahir, Ajantha Mendis, Umar Gul, and Rashid Khan.
- During a match against Australia in 2010, he with Angelo Matthews recorded the highest 9th wicket partnership in an ODI. It is with 132 runs.
- In Indian Premier League history, Malinga became the first player to pick 100 as well as 150 wickets.
- Being the highest wicket-taker for a particular team in T20 cricket, Lasith Malinga picked 195 wickets for Mumbai Indians in both Champions League T20 competitions and Indian Premier League.
- Five times in his T20 cricket career, Malinga recorded five-wicket hauls. However, he is only behind David Wiese.
Lasith Malinga’s Coaching Career
Owing to his impressive talents and experiences, Lasith Malinga could also continue his cricket career as a coach. Accordingly, Malinga served as the bowling mentor for the Mumbai Indians team in February 2018 for the 2018 IPL season. There he led a supportive role.
The Bottom Line
After all, it is no secret that Lasith Malinga could become one of the most popular cricket players of this decade. Starting his cricket career from the sands on his village, the long journey he could traverse up to the international cricket field is indeed amazing. Above all, the memories that Malinga created with his unique styles made him an iconic figure in the hearts of cricket lovers. Thus, even though Malinga retires from all forms of cricket, the wonderful contributions he made on behalf of cricket would be always valued. So, conclusively, let us thank Lasith Malinga for all the beautiful memories he had given, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors!