Out-of-form bowling star Lasith Malinga may have rightly been dropped for the final ODI against Pakistan, which Sri Lanka won emphatically by 165 runs, but selectors believe the 31-year-old bowler with a sling-arm action is still good enough to lead the national side in the two-match T20I series against Pakistan.
After he conceded as many as 246 runs in four matches and having managed just four wickets at an average of 61.50, Malinga was dropped from the fifth ODI, for the first time in many years.
“Well we need to understand, these are two different formats and he has been exceptional in the shorter version for many years. So we have no doubt about his abilities,” said Kapila Wijegunawardena, chairman of cricket selectors.
“We had to drop him from the final ODI because of his form but that doesn’t mean, he is not good enough to play the T20’s,” he added. “He is an experienced player and I am sure he would come back hard in the T20’s.”
However ODI skipper Angelo Mathews says that even the captain should be dropped, if he is not performing well.
“No players is indispensable. Not even the captain,” Mathews said when pressed for thoughts regarding Malinga’s exclusion from the final ODI.
“Of course, he is a good player but if he is out of form, we need to drop regardless of his status in the team. Also we made this change because we need to try our bench strengths,” Mathews said at the post match press conference at the end of the fifth ODI in Sooriyawewa.
Malinga will lead a new-look T20 side including five debutants against Pakistan in the two-match series starting July 30. The second and final match will be on August 1.
Malinga who was deputy to Dinesh Chandimal, led the side when Chandimal was dropped from the playing XI during the T20 World Cup in 2014 and was given the permanent reigns after he led Sri Lanka to the title.