Mumbai Indians likely to release Lasith Malinga for IPL auction

Malinga has been struggling with fitness issues and has looked out of form off late

What’s the story?

In what would have seemed an unthinkable move a few years ago, IPL side Mumbai Indians are set to release their premier fast bowler in history, Lasith Malinga, for the IPL auctions.

With the teams likely to be allowed to retain a maximum of three players, the IPL 2017 winners are unwilling to keep hold of Malinga, considering the fact that the Sri Lankan speedster has looked out of form and also faced issues regarding his fitness off late.

Mumbai Indians though will still have the option to pick the 34-year-old during the player auctions – a move the franchise is not ruling out.

“As per the rules, Every team can preserve maximum four to five players, Mumbai Indians team management is on the opinion to release the Slinga Malinga,” a source, close to Mumbai Indians told Cricket Age.

“The Mumbai Indians can also buy him back, but as far as the auction is concerned, it looks like Lasith Malinga will find himself in the pool of players up for grabs” the source revealed further.

In case you didn’t know…

Malinga is the most successful bowler in IPL history with 154 wickets from 110 matches and played a key role in Mumbai Indians victorious campaigns in 2013 and 2015 picking up 20 and 24 wickets respectively.

However, Malinga was off-colour in the 2017 IPL campaign picking up just 11 wickets from 12 matches as well conceding runs at an expensive 8.84 runs an over.

Extra Cover: Why has Lasith Malinga become rusty?

The details

While there is no doubt that Malinga is by far the most successful bowler in IPL history, be it with his wicket-taking abilities or his death-overs bowling, the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and New Zealand’s Mitchell McClenaghan has established themselves as the Mumbai franchise’s first-choice bowlers ahead of the Sri Lankan.

Bumrah, in fact, has grown in stature as one of the best limited-overs bowlers in the shorter formats of the game and is sure to be retained by Mumbai Indians.

Skipper Rohit Sharma is also likely to be retained though confusion still prevails as to the breakdown between the number of Indian and foreign players each IPL side will be allowed to hold on to.

Extra Cover: Lasith Malinga turns into off-spinner in domestic match; picks up three wickets

What’s next?

The 2018 edition of the IPL will mark the 10th anniversary of India’s premier T20 league which has proved a phenomenal success since its inception in 2008.

Mumbai Indians have been the most successful in the league’s history winning the trophy on three occasions while Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders have both won the title twice.

With the player retention limit for the upcoming season less than in previous players, many world-class players are set to head into the IPL players’ auction which will be held in the month of February next year.

Extra Cover: CSK to retain MS Dhoni; no place for Suresh Raina: Reports

Author’s take

Malinga may be head and shoulders above the rest with his enviable IPL record, but there is no denying that the Sri Lankan speedster has lost the pace and the ability to bowl yorkers consistently that had made him one of the toughest bowlers to face in the T20 format.

Age has caught up with the right-arm pacer and an unwillingness to look after his body has played a part in his downfall as a bowler while also leading to many run-ins with the Sri Lankan cricket administration.

It is hardly a surprise that Mumbai Indians has decided to let go off Malinga though they still have the option to pick him up at the auctions at a considerably lower price.