Guwahati: Mumbai Indians’ pacer and Sri Lankan veteran Lasith Malinga is likely to miss the initial few games of Mumbai Indians in the IPL 2020, owing to personal reasons.
Malinga will not be travelling to the UAE with the squad, where the IPL will be played from September 19 to November 10; however, the pacer is expected to join the team in UAE towards the later part of the tournament.
According to reports, Malinga wants to be with his father who has been ill and may require surgery in the coming weeks. One key factor that is likely to have contributed to Malinga’s decision is the current quarantine protocol imposed by the Sri Lankan government for people entering the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As per the rules, anyone entering Sri Lanka needs to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine, which means Malinga would have had to remain in quarantine if he flew to the UAE and then came back to see his father at any point.
Malinga is likely to join Mumbai during the business end of the tournament, including the playoffs, where his experience will come handy. The pacer will be training in Colombo untill then.
Malinga has been one of the most valuable players for Mumbai Indians over the years in the IPL. With as many as 170 wickets, he is also the highest wicket taker in IPL, with an impressive average of 7.14.
Last year, the pacer was in the middle of things when he defended just eight runs in the last over of the final, helping the franchise get to their fourth IPL title.
Bowling the last over, a nail biter, he conceded just seven runs off the first five balls and then took a wicket, of Shardul Thakur, on the final delivery when the Super Kings needed two to win, to seal a record fourth title for Mumbai.
Although IPL is yet to release the tournament schedule, Mumbai are expected to play 2019 runners-up Super Kings in the first match as per the norm.