Lasith Malinga love or love to hate him | Sunday Observer

Lasith Malinga love or love to hate him

Legion of his fans love to love him. A minority of his fans love to hate him. That is because he is never afraid to be outspoken and he will call a spade a spade and not some other implement. He is none other than SEPARAMADU LASITH MALINGA.

MALINGA from the moment he burst into the cricket firmament like a comet, he sprayed his glow all over the cricket world with a bowling action never before seen and sent shock waves on batsmen lining up to face him.

Fast bowlers are temperamental as they come and it was no different with the tinted curly haired fast man from down south. He was an unknown softball cricketer, until spotted by that former Sri Lanka medium pacer Champaka Ramanayake who was an expert in moving the ball both ways.

Ramanayake spotted an uncut gem. He realized that if this gem was cut and polished he could take the cricket world by storm, considering that he had an action, never before seen – square armed – which batsmen were going to struggle against and that he would hug the headlines not only in Sri Lanka, but the world as well. And ‘Rama’ as his coach was fondly referred to was spot on.

MALINGA packed dynamite in his bowling, especially with a bone crushing Yorker and a life threatening bouncer. Once he hit the big time, batsmen would prefer to be at the non-strikers end rather than front up to this bowling menace.

His temper is such that he can’t hold back. Firstly he had a clash with a journalist. Instead of answering the question he asked the journalist to go mind his business.

To him big or small did not matter. Then he took on a Sports Minister and told him in no uncertain terms what he thought of him. MALINGA was taken to task on both occasions, but came through unbowed, unafraid and unshaken.

His latest outburst is the taking of Sri Lanka Cricket to task for their hurriedly arranged Inter-Provincial tournament to pick the final squad for the 2019 World Cup to be held in England and Wales next month.

While he appreciated the conducting of the tournament, he opined that the format was hastily arranged where teams got only a day’s rest between games.

He further said that the organizers of these tournaments should ensure proper rest for the players to produce best results and not do it just for the sake of doing it.

To quote MALINGA. ‘Conducting tournaments for the sake of conducting it will not yield good results, because if a player gets a minor injury – like getting a finger hit by the ball – he will not have enough time to recover within a day. So I believe if they plan intelligently we can get better results out of this kind of tournaments’.

In recent times MALINGA’S fitness had been called into question. He answered his critics and probably shut their mouths with a devastating spell bagging 7 wickets for 49. He was captaining Galle and he spelt doom to the Kandy batsmen.

This was a fantastic effort considering that he was playing for the Mumbai Indians in an Indian Premier League game in the night and catching a fight immediately after the game, playing the next day and pocketing seven wickets.

MALINGA has not pulled his punches, but spoken out as to what he felt of the whole exercise and it is hoped that the authorities will take it in the spirit in which his comments were made and not take action or hold it against him.

Even we when we heard that an Inter- Provincial Tournament was going to be played in Dambulla and Pallekelle with the selectors present to watch how the actors perform before picking the World Cup squad we felt that it was an exercise in futility.

True the selectors and Sri Lanka Cricket had their reasons after all they are determined to pick a set of cricketing warriors who would bring back the World Cup. But it is obvious that this tournament did not serve their purpose.

MALINGA at 38 has shown that he has not lost his fire and brimstone he hurled on batsmen and had them running for cover. He has now answered his critics and booked his ticket to the World Cup.

Fielding needs improvement

‘Catches win matches’ is the adage that every cricketer knee high to a bat taking to the game was told, taught and carved into.

But the late former Australian cricketing great and captain Richie Benaud once told me that dropped catches would not necessarily mean losing, but could make winning that much more difficult. How true!

Sri Lanka’s fielding all round – catching, ground fielding, throwing in have all hit an all time low. Inexplicable when one considers that we were tagged the best fielding side when we had Trevor Chappell the Australian who was asked to bowl an underarm ball by his brother Greg in a one-day game against New Zealand was our fielding coach.

Our fielding has dropped to a new low because some of the players seem to be ignorant of the basics of fielding. True we have former Australian wicket keeper Steve Rixon as our fielding coach. But at this level he can’t be teaching and showing them the basics.

The basics in fielding is having your hands together and watching the ball until it is cupped in your hands. Today fancy style of taking catches has hit our players like a plague and vital and the simplest of catches have been grassed. Rixon must be telling and showing them how. But he cannot be faulted if catches are dropped.

The cricketers must remember that they cannot afford to give threatening batsman a second chance. To do so and drop a catch could be heartbreaking to the bowler and would mean chasing leather thereafter. And being a World Cup there should be no second chances to the batsmen.

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