Sri Lanka paceman Lasith Malinga on Tuesday brushed aside criticism that he quit Test cricket to be able to make quick money from tournaments such as the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The injury-prone bowler invited controversy when he made himself unavailable for Tests during a forthcoming tour of England because of a knee injury, but continued to play in the lucrative Twenty20 competition in India.
Malinga announced his retirement from Tests last week, saying the injury prevented him from playing in the longest version of the game, and has since been under fire for picking club cricket over country.
“The Test retirement was never about money,” Malinga, 27, told reporters in Colombo.
“I can’t be a commentator, coach or umpire. But I can bowl well and get wickets. It’s unfair to say money was the root cause of my decision,” said the fast bowler, who is on a three-day return visit to Sri Lanka from India.
Malinga, the highest wicket-taker so far in the IPL with 16 scalps from six games, hoped his decision would allow him to play for at least four more years.
“My right knee is getting weaker each day. I have a long-standing degenerative condition that I need to carefully manage,” he said.
“I love playing for Sri Lanka. It’s my dream to play for my country. I’m not sure if my knee will inflame again.”
Malinga said he was looking forward to playing the one-dayers and Twenty20s during Sri Lanka’s tour of England, which starts next month.