IPL destroyed Lanka’s most-feared cricket weapon, Malinga

Virender Sehwag confirms fears Lankan fans have been sharing online

India's dashing opening batsman Virender Sehwag has confirmed the worst fears of Sri Lankan cricket fans of the adverse influence of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on national team performance.

Sri Lanka's tearaway fast bowler Lasith Malinga wreaked havoc since he burst into international cricket in 2004 because of his toe-crushing yorkers delivered with a rare round-arm action.

But one of the most feared bowlers in the limited overs version has been taken to cleaners by Indian batsmen of late.

Sehwag attributed this to the advent of IPL (Indian Premier League) where Malinga has been a regular feature.

"I guess IPL has been a factor. The Indian players have played a lot against Malinga. But that doesn't mean that he is bad bowler. He can destroy any opposition on a given day," he said speaking ahead of the second match against Sri Lanka in Hambantota on Tuesday.

India cruised to a 21-run win against the islanders in the opening ODI - courtesy the in-form Virat Kohli who smashed 106 and Sehwag who made a significant contribution with an innings of 96.

Malinga took a pounding conceding 83 runs without taking a wicket as India posted a winning total of 314 for six in Hambantota on Saturday.

Disappointed Sri Lankan fans took to the social networking site Facebook to ridicule Malinga for setting a dubious record of conceding the most runs in a one-day international at home.

It surpassed the 81 he gave away for a solitary wicket also against India at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo in 2009.

"Before IPL (he took) 10 wkts in 10 matches. After IPL 16 wkts in 14 mtchs. Seems like he learnt nothing from IPL, but earn lot from it," wrote Nadeeshan in Facebook after dissecting Malinga's performance against India in www.cricturf.com.

In a strange coincidence he has come worse for wear in recent series against the Indians.

Most memorably, India plundered 96 runs in just 7.4 overs against Malinga to chase down a formidable target of 320 in 36 overs during the Commonwealth Bank Series in Australia.

The runs Malinga conceded in that game was the most he has conceded in his eight-year ODI career, and his economy-rate of 12.52 in the match was the worst for any bowler who has conceded over 80 runs in an ODI game.

Despite his inconsistent performance in this series, he was the leading wicket-taker with 18 scalps in 11 games but went at 6.21 runs per over.

He was left out of the Asia Cup clash against India in Bangladesh.

Malinga has failed to deliver the goods against India although he has been a star in the IPL where he turns out for Mumbai Indians.

In this year's tournament, he took 22 wickets at an average of 15.90. He has captured a total of 83 wickets in 56 matches in the four editions of the tournament.

But his one-day international record against India has been pretty ordinary. He has a modest record of 26 wickets in 24 matches against India with a best of 2-21 and has bowled a full quota of 10 overs on only eight occasions.

The only bowler to take four wickets in consecutive deliveries - a feat he achieved during the 2007 World Cup - Malinga seems to have become a spent bullet.

He announced his retirement from Test cricket in April 2011 to prolong his career in limited-overs matches and has been appointed brand ambassador by the International Cricket Council for the Twenty20 World Cup to be held in Sri Lanka later this year.

Malinga remains the main spearhead of the Sri Lanka attack which has been handicapped by injury to Nuwan Kulasekera for the remainder of the five-match home series.

Unless Malinga raises his game and comes up with some new tricks against India, the pin-up boy of Sri Lanka cricket could become the villain of the series.

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