Sri Lanka has asked fast bowler Lasith Malinga to return from the IPL (Indian Premier League) and undergo a rehabilitation programme after he made himself unavailable for the upcoming Test series against England.
Malinga had stated that he is suffering from an injury, but continues to play for Mumbai Indians in the Twenty20 tournament.
He did not figure in the Sri Lanka squad of 16 players named for the three-Test series against England starting on May 26 in Cardiff.
“It looks a bit awkward when someone says he is injured and continues to play cricket,” Sri Lanka's new chairman of selectors Duleep Mendis told Cricinfo website. “That is the reason why we have decided to write to Malinga and ask him to return home and undergo a rehabilitation programme. Malinga has specifically mentioned in a letter that he is not available for Test matches right now because he has a nagging knee problem.
“When the player says that he is injured and he has to undergo a rehab programme what we can do is to tell him to undergo it immediately without continuing to play cricket in the IPL, and then get ready for cricket in Sri Lanka if he is interested in playing for his country.”
Malinga is the leading strike bowler for Mumbai Indians grabbing five wickets in the opening match against Delhi Daredevils.
Mendis said they would have to wait and see what Malinga's response was before deciding on the next course of action.
Nishantha Ranatunga, the Sri Lanka Crickeet secretary, also expressed concerns over Malinga's absence from the Test team. “We are very much concerned about Malinga because he is an important product in the team,” Ranatunga said. “He should be up and running to play in all three formats of the game. In that sense getting him fit and ready to play at full strength is very important.”
Malinga has shown a reluctance to play Test cricket since he sustained a long-term knee injury more than two years ago. Since December 2007, he has played only two Tests - against India at home last year - and has confined himself to playing in limited overs and Twenty20 cricket, where he has been very successful. He has, however, not officially stated that he is unavailable to play Test cricket for Sri Lanka.