Malinga to make international comeback during ODI series against New Zealand

Malinga's last ODI for Sri Lanka came against Pakistan in August 2014

Malinga’s last ODI for Sri Lanka came against Pakistan in August this year

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Sri Lanka pace maestro Lasith Malinga will make his international comeback towards the latter part of the seven-match ODI series against New Zealand in January 2015.

Malinga had his ankle surgically repaired in September and as a result, he missed Sri Lanka’s ODI series against India and England.

“Malinga is still recovering from surgery and everything is going well according to plan. He will return for the last two ODI games in New Zealand,” Sri Lanka head coach Marvan Atapattu said.

Since Malinga has been sidelined, Suranga Lakmal has been taking over and has even impressed everyone with his performance in the last two ODIs against England.

“The way he [Lakmal] bowled especially at Pallekele is what we all will welcome. We all knew what he could bring into the side. In Malinga’s absence we needed that tight bowler and he has come and delivered straightaway,” Atapattu said. “It’s nothing like you having your settled combination. If Malinga and [Nuwan] Kulasekera can come back and bowl the way they have done in the past it will be fantastic.”

Atapattu is also confident that Kulasekara will regain his touch with ball. Kulasekara has struggled this year as he has only taken two wickets in his last nine matches.

However, Kulasekara has been fighting his way back in Sri Lanka’s Premier Limited Over tournament as he has taken 11 wickets in seven matches at an excellent average of 22.45.

“Kulasekera is going through the club season at the moment and he is working through his action [for] inswingers and outswingers with the coaches in the academy,” Atapattu said. “We didn’t want to rush him but give him plenty of confidence before he comes and plays.

“His greatest strength is to move the ball at the pace that he bowls at: 120-130. He lost a little of his natural swing in the latter part of the match he played against India lately. It was quickly identified by the bowler and he is doing some remedial work.”

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