Sri Lankan officials are confident that enigmatic fast bowler Lasith Malinga will be fit to take his place in the Sri Lankan squad for the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
Malinga has not played for Sri Lanka since he underwent surgery on his left ankle in September last year and he missed One Day International (ODI) Series’ against India and England as well as the current series against New Zealand; in which New Zealand currently holds a 3-1 lead after their impressive win in Dunedin this morning.
Sri Lanka lack an elite ODI fast bowler in the absence of Malinga, who has taken 271 wickets at an average of 27.21, and Sri Lankan coach Marvin Atapattu told the NZ Herald that the 31-year-old is doing everything possible in order to be fit for Sri Lanka’s opening 2015 Cricket World Cup match against New Zealand on February 13.
“He’s been monitored closely by team doctors here and in Australia. He’s working to a programme,” Atapattu said.
“If all goes well he should be ready for the [practice] match against the South Africans on February 9.
“We were hoping to get him ready for the ODI on January 29 in Wellington but there was some stiffness in his ankle and he had to go to Australia to get it attended to.
“That set us back about four to five days.
“He’s the best bowler when it comes to the death overs.
“His availability would make a huge change not only to how we perform, but how we think.”
Malinga made his World Cup debut in the 2007 edition of the tournament in the West Indies and he played a key role in Sri Lanka’s charge to the final; taking 18 wickets from eight matches to finish the tournament as the fifth leading wicket taker.
He was selected as a member of the Sri Lanka squad for the 2011 Cricket World Cup and once played a key role for his side, highlighted by his 6/38 demolition of Kenya in the opening stages of the tournament.
Sri Lanka are currently available at 2015 Cricket World Cup odds of $9 with Ladbrokes.com.au, while Australia ($3.25) remain favourites from South Africa ($4.50), New Zealand ($7) and India ($8).
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