Kumar Sangakkara says he fully supports Lasisth Malinga’s decision to retire from Test cricket.
The fast bowler announced his retirement from the longest form of the game earlier in the week after the Sri Lankan cricket board questioned is continued participation in the Indian Premier League despite having made himself unavailable for his country’s upcoming tour to England.
The right-armer cited a desire to prolong his career in the face of a troublesome knee injury as the reason for his decision, and the move has been backed by former skipper Sangakkara.
“We were all well aware of the seriousness of his knee condition and while I was captain we tried to manage him as carefully and sensitively as possible during the past couple of years,” Sangakkara wrote in the Times of India.
“We obviously wanted him to play Tests, but when we asked him to play the India tour it took him two months to physically recover from that.”
“The truth is that Lasith is our best fast bowler in limited-overs cricket right now.
“If we forced him to play Tests we would be running the risk of losing him completely. That would be a tragedy for Sri Lanka, undermining both the ODI and T20 teams.
“Malinga has always given his best as a national cricketer. Had it not been for his knee problem he would definitely want to play Tests. I fully support his decision and hope that as a result of it we see him playing for a few more years.”
Former vice-captain Mahela Jayawardene has also voiced his support for Malinga, stating that the decision was the best one for the bowler.
“Given the state of his knee condition, there is no point in him taking the risk of playing Test cricket,” Jayawardene wrote, also in the Times of India.
“If he breaks down then it will be bad for Sri Lanka. We want him playing for us as long as possible. Some people have criticised the decision, arguing that he is being selfish. This short-sighted argument is very unfair given that he clearly has a chronic knee problem.
“Lasith is a human being and, while he is totally committed to Sri Lanka, he also has responsibilities as a husband and, one day hopefully, a father. If his career is ended by injury, who is going to look after him and his family? When he suffered the injury the first time he was stripped of his central contract within about six months and left with no income.
“Any individual in any profession has to consider their personal and family interests when they make big decisions in their life. Why should a professional cricketer be any different? We need to support him and protect him. He is a natural match-winner and a great asset for Sri Lanka. We should be grateful for his services and help him look after himself.”
Sri Lanka travel to England for a series comprising of three Tests, one T20I and five ODIs, starting in May. Cricket365