IPL 2020: Lasith Malinga set to miss the first half
Sri Lankan fast bowler Lasith Malinga is set to miss the first half of the 2020 IPL for Mumbai Indians due to personal reasons. According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, Malinga will not travel to the United Arab Emirates with the MI contingent. It has been reported that Malinga's father is ill and may undergo surgery in the upcoming weeks.
Reportedly, Malinga wants to be by his father's side at the time of the surgery. Subsequently, he will continue his training in Colombo. It is understood that Malinga could join Mumbai Indians towards the end of the tournament.
Lasith Malinga has been the nucleus of Mumbai Indians' bowling line-up for years. He is presently the leading wicket-taker in the Indian Premier League, having claimed 170 scalps so far. Malinga joined Mumbai in 2009 and has been retained by the franchise ever since. Although MI hired him as a mentor in 2018, he yet again played the following season.
According to the quarantine protocols imposed by the Sri Lankan Government, anyone entering Sri Lanka needs to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine. In this case, Malinga couldn't have flown back from the UAE to attend his father's surgery at any point. These protocols might have refrained him from traveling with Mumbai Indians contingent to play the IPL.
Mumbai Indians became the most successful IPL side after clinching a fourth title. They beat arch-rival Chennai Super Kings by a solitary run in a nail-biting final. Notably, Malinga was the man behind the emphatic turnaround even though he leaked 42 runs in his first three overs. As CSK required two off the final ball, he dismissed Shardul Thakur to win it for Mumbai.
In Malinga's absence, the baton of fast bowling lies with Indian pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah. Also, New Zealand's Trent Boult could be a handy replacement for Malinga. He has already proved his mettle in the previous few IPL seasons. Boult was traded to MI by Delhi Capitals ahead of the auction. Meanwhile, Australian pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile may also be a useful option.