Mumbai Indians fast bowler Lasith Malinga, the highest wicket-taker in the IPL, has pulled out of the 2020 season in the UAE owing to personal reasons. Australia fast bowler James Pattinson, who is yet to play an IPL game, has been named as his replacement.
It is understood Malinga’s father has been ill and may require surgery in the coming weeks. Since Malinga wanted to be with his father at home in Sri Lanka, he opted against travelling with the Mumbai squad to Abu Dhabi last month. It was believed that he would later link up with the side during the business end of the league, but now Malinga has pulled out of the entire tournament, which will run from September 19 to November 10.
“Lasith is a legend and a pillar of MI’s strength,” Mumbai owner Akash Ambani was quoted as saying by the franchise’s website. “There is no denying the fact that we will miss Lasith’s cricketing acumen this season. However, we fully understand Lasith’s need to be in Sri Lanka with his family during this time.”
Ambani also welcomed Pattinson into the set-up, saying he was the “right fit” for them. While Mumbai have Jasprit Bumrah and New Zealand’s Trent Boult to lead the pace attack, they could still miss Malinga’s vast experience. He is the second highest wicket-taker in T20 cricket, behind Dwayne Bravo, and has regularly delivered at the crunch for Mumbai.
More to follow…