Lasith Malinga fit and ready for recall
Where is Separamadu Lasith Malinga? When will he return? A common question these days amongst cricket fans. Malinga, recovering from a knee injury that he picked up during the CB Series in Australia has been sidelined from cricket since his last ODI appearance on the 29th of February 2008.
Despite various claims of a miraculous recovery, it is now known that Lasith eventually followed the advice and recommendation of his more conventional medical practitioner, Australia's Dr. David Young.
David is the orthopaedic surgeon to the Western Bulldogs - the Australian Rules Football team and is also a consultant orthopaedic surgeon to the Australian and Victorian Institutes of Sport. He has treated the likes of Shoaib Akthar and Kumar Sangakkara. Fear, however, mounted as a MRI scan on his injured knee in April of 2008 showed no improvement and doubts emerged over his return to international cricket.
In a recent conversation I had with Lasith's agent, it was revealed that the injury that has sidelined him from international cricket has healed and the rehabilitation process is now complete.
Malinga played his first match in months as he turned his magic arm over for NCC in the Tier-A Premier league limited over cricket tournament on the 7th of January. He picked up 3-34 upon his return.
International cricket, however, may still be some time away as Sri Lanka Cricket has requested that Malinga play several first class matches in order to regain form before being considered for national selection.
This domestic season will prove to be crucial for Malinga as Sri Lanka's current stock of bowlers have performed extremely well of late. The top three wicket takers in ODIs for 2008 are Sri Lankan bowlers. Ajantha Mendis with 48 wickets, Murali with 35, and the seemingly innocuous medium pace of Nuwan Kulasekara with 33 wickets topped the wicket takers list last year. All this proves how tough it will be for Lasith Malinga to make a come back as a bowler into the current line up.
With the injury thankfully out of the way and only his own skill left to prove his worth, it will only be a matter of time before we see the SLINGA back in action.