Legendary Sri Lanka pacer Lasith Malinga on Tuesday announced his retirement from all formats of the game after an illustrious career that spanned over more than a decade. A pace veteran and one of the finest T20 bowlers, the 38-year-old led Sri Lanka to a title victory in 2014 T20 World Cup.
Malinga, who took a total of 546 wickets across all formats for Sri Lanka, had already retired from Test cricket in 2011 and then from ODIs in 2019. However, he continued to play T20Is for the national side.
The cricket fraternity on Tuesday paid rich tributes to yorker king Lasith Malinga after he bid adieu to all forms of cricket, describing him as a legend whose contribution to the sport will survive the test of time.
Wishing him on a successful career, the game’s governing body ICC wrote: “Happy retirement, Yorker King.”
Jasprit Bumrah, who formed a formidable pair with Malinga for the IPL team Mumbai Indians, also congratulated him. “Congratulations on an illustrious career, Mali and all the very best for everything the future holds. It was a pleasure playing alongside you,” Bumrah wrote.
“Mali, you have been a champion cricketer. Well done on your wonderful career. Best wishes ahead @ninety9sl,” wrote MI skipper Rohit Sharma.
During his 12-year stint at Mumbai Indians, he was part of MI’s four of the five IPL title triumphs but had opted out of the 2020 tournament due to personal reasons at a time when his father was not keeping well.
Mumbai Indians thanked him for all the good memories: “Popular sounds from Mumbai: Local train passing by, BEST bus horn, Kali-pili taxi meter, and wankhade buzzing with MA-LIN-GAAA. Thank you Mali for all the memories!,” it wrote.
Former Sri Lankan skippers and his teammates Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene too praised him on his outstanding career.
“Congrats on an awesome career. Your contribution to Sri Lanka and world cricket will stand for all time. Been such a pleasure playing with you. All the very best in what you decide to do from now. So much knowledge to give. Legend!!!,” Sangakkara tweeted.
Jayawardena remembered the first instance when he had faced him at the nets. “Time I first faced you in the Galle nets as a 18 year old net bowler to the Curly coloured hair icon you have left us with amazing memories!! Fantastic team mate.. wishing you all the very best my friend and thank you!!,” he wrote.
Malinga, who has played a staggering 122 IPL matches, has 170 wickets to his credit, the highest in the cash-rich league, with the best bowling figures of 5/13. He picked up 107 wickets in 84 T20 Internationals, 338 scalps in 226 ODIs and 101 wickets in 30 Tests.