Sri Lanka bowling superstar Lasith Malinga's participation in the ICC T20 World Cup 2016 has come to an end after his knee injury forced him to return home a release from Sri Lanka Cricket said. Malinga, who is Sri Lanka's prime fast-bowler and match-winner, has been struggling with a bone bruise on his left knee and experts advised him to return home after noticing that the injury was flaring up.
The Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) committee is expected to name a replacement, but this is a big blow for the side as they were relying on Malinga to come through and contribute towards defending their T20 World Cup title. The 32-year-old has suffered a number of injuries over the past few years, and it was due to fitness issues that he relinquished the T20 captaincy to Angelo Mathews.
"Sri Lanka Fast Bowler Lasith Malinga, who joined the Sri Lanka team in India this past week, will be returning to Sri Lanka today", SLC said in a statement.
"Sri Lanka Team management on tour have observed that Malinga, who's niggling injury has been flaring up would be better off resting it, and have recommended he return to Colombo."
"Meanwhile, the practice T20 matches for the remaining players from the WT20 pool will get underway at the R. Premadasa International Stadium this evening, and the selectors are expected to pick a suitable replacement for Malinga, to join the team," the statement read.
Malinga is a bona fide superstar and Sri Lanka's biggest star in the T20 format. He is the highest wicket-taker in T20 World Cup history with 38 wickets in just 31 games, the right-arm bowler had dismissed rumours of him retiring from International cricket, but this latest setback might just make him change his mind.