Duleep says Malinga was hard to convince


Chairman of Cricket Selectors Duleep Mendis says that fast bowler Lasith Malinga was hard to convince not to give up Test cricket. Responding to his predecessor and former batting great Aravinda de Silva’s comments that he wouldn’t have let Malinga to retire from Test cricket had he remained a selector, Mendis says his panel tried hard to convince the bowler, but Malinga was adamant.

"I quite agree with Aravinda. But Malinga was adamant that he should retire from Test cricket," Mendis told The Island yesterday.

"We gave him all the options. We told him that he could pick and choose matches and we even suggested that it’s sufficient for him to play just one Test of a three match series if he reckons that he wouldn’t last a three match series. We even went to the extent of telling him that it would be alright if he bowls short spells, but nothing convinced him," Mendis added.

"His words were that he’s retiring from Test cricket to concentrate on the shorter versions of the game," Mendis added.

While playing the 2011 IPL, Malinga made himself unavailable for the Test series in England saying that he was injured, but that announcement didn’t go down too well with the national selectors.

"It looks a bit awkward when someone says he is injured and continues to play cricket," Mendis said at that time.

The selectors recalled Malinga from IPL to go through rehabilitation, but the fast bowler instead announced his retirement from Test cricket much to the dismay of many and reaffirmed his loyalty to the Ambanis.

After Malinga claimed a hat-trick to help Sri Lanka win the recent fifth and final ODI, Australian captain Michael Clarke admitted that his players were happy that Malinga won’t be around for the Test Matches.

"I think a few of the boys are happy we don’t face him in the Test series. I said at the start of this series he’s a big player for Sri Lanka, he’s been a very good bowler for a long time in all three forms of the game. His execution at the death is as good as anyone in world cricket at the moment. He bowls reverse swing really well, he’s got a really good slower ball and his yorkers are as good as anyone in the world. As we’ve seen tonight, it’s very hard to start against him," Clarke said.

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