New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: Lasith Malinga, one of the greatest bowling sensations of the Indian Premier League and for Mumbai Indians, has decided to bid adieu to franchise cricket and won’t be available for the next season of the IPL. 

Malinga had made up his mind that he won't be playing franchise cricket, which is why Mumbai Indians had to force themselves to release one of their biggest icons ahead of the IPL auctions 2021. 

"Mumbai Indians management respects Lasith Malinga's decision and hence he is not part of the club's 18-member retention squad announced today, Akash Ambani, Owner, Mumbai Indians said in a press release.

"Lasith Malinga has been at the core of Mumbai Indians for 12 years. We respect his decision, even though I would have liked to him to be part of our bowling attack for another 5 years," he added.

"Malinga is an MI legend. His contributions to Mumbai Indians' journey are invaluable. We will miss the Wankhede chant for him, but he will always be in the heart of all MI fans. At Mumbai Indians, Malinga will always be a part of the MI family and we hope we can continue to lean on his experience in a non-playing capacity in the future."

The Sri Lankar pacer also extended his best wishes to Mumbai Indians. "After discussing with family, I think now is the right time to retire from all franchise cricket. The Pandemic situation and the restrictions on travel will make it difficult for me given my personal circumstances to participate fully in franchise cricket for the next year and therefore it is best to make this decision now," he said.  

Malinga, who has played a staggering 122 IPL matches, has 170 wickets to his credit, the highest in the cash-rich league, with the best bowling figures of 5/13.

"MI have released seven names which include Sri Lankan great Lasith Malinga, Kiwi quick Mitchell McClenaghan, Australians Nathan Coulter-Nile and James Pattinson, Guyanese Sherfane Rutherford, uncapped leg-spinner Prince Balwant Rai and fast bowler Digvijay Deshmukh from the team," the franchise said in a statement.

In the 2020 edition of the IPL, Mumbai Indians had roped in Australian speedster James Pattinson as a replacement for Malinga, who had expressed his unavailability owing to personal reasons.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta