Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Will Lasith Malinga's Absence Hurt Sri Lanka?

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No pun intended with the title, obviously. I have suffered a tear in my ankle, after stepping in a pot-hole while playing football no less, and I can inform you it is not a pleasant experience.

The point remains that Lasith Malinga is far more important to the Sri Lankan cricket team than I was to my lunch-time football team. After that devastating spell against the perennial chokers of the cricketing world, teams have started to sit up and take notice of the Cricket World Cup's "equal leading wicket taker".

With tournament statistics of 15 scalps at just over 14, Sri Lanka's competition would be foolish not to design specific plans to counter The Sheep Malinga. However, with the injury expected to take between seven days and a fortnight to heal, the task facing the Lankan's next few opponents has been made significantly easier.

On the difficult pitches of the Caribbean, Lasith Malinga's pace and unorthodox action is just as potent (probably more so if the stats are anything to go by) than Muttiah Muralitharan's hyper-extended elbow. After South Africa's shellacking of the West Indies overnight and depending on whether the English can manage to keep their pants on against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka might yet be fighting for a place in the semis.

In this context, it is vitally important for Sri Lankan's chances that Malinga is able to recover full health, well before the Australian match. He can thank the knob-heads that comprise the ICC's Scheduling Committee for giving plenty of time, and then some.

Let us all pray for The Sheep.


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