Mumbai Indians announced Australian speedster James Pattinson as Malinga’s replacement for the upcoming season.
Mumbai Indians owner Akash Ambani welcomed Pattinson on board and extended full support to Malinga. “James is the right fit for us and adds to our pace attack options available at hand especially for the conditions we will play in this season in UAE,” he was quoted as saying in the press release.
“Lasith is a legend and a pillar of MI’s strength. 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.
“Mumbai Indians is founded on the values of ‘One Family’ and for us the members of our squad and their wellbeing will always hold utmost importance,” he added. “We welcome James to our One Family.”
Malinga is the IPL’s leading wicket-taker with 170 wickets and last year helped MI secure a fourth title win, winning the final against Chennai Super Kings off the last ball. With CSK needing two to win off the final ball and one to tie, Malinga got Shardul Thakur out LBW. After his first three overs going for 42 runs, Malinga roared back to concede only seven off the decisive over of the match.
It was in March that Malinga last played any form of cricket, when he took part in a T20I against West Indies in Galle.
Surprisingly, in June, when Sri Lanka’s 24-member squad was announced for a second-residential training camp, Malinga was not part of it.