Lasith Malinga’s absence from the Sri Lankan team has been described as “a big hole in our line-up” by head coach Graham Ford.
“It is unfortunate that Malinga’s injury is a huge blow to Sri Lanka cricket. He is an absolute match winner, brilliant player and from a tactical point of view he is fantastic,” said Ford. “Unfortunately the injury is a real problem. Hopefully we will have him fit and ready to bowl when we need him but that is a big hole in our line-up.”
The champion fast bowler who is considered one of the best in one-day cricket is recuperating in Sri Lanka from a knee injury.
The Lankan team left for India on Wednesday night without Malinga who stayed back to receive treatment to his injured knee.
“Lasith is taking a course of injections and he is being treated by a panel of three specialist doctors,” said Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Mohan de Silva.
“They are monitoring Lasith’s progress carefully and will certify before March 15 whether he will be fit to fly to India for the first World T20 match in Kolkata,” he said.
De Silva said that Malinga will undergo a fitness test on March 15 to assess his condition.
Malinga the appointed captain for the World T20 tournament stepped down from the position in order to get himself fit.
The new selection committee that was appointed on Monday night picked Angelo Mathews as captain to replace Malinga for the tournament in addition to making two changes by including batsman Lahiru Thirimanne and fast bowler Suranga Lakmal.
They also retained Malinga in the squad of 15.
“I am happy with the squad. You’ve got to be realistic and accept that it is tough times for Sri Lankan cricket,” said Ford.
“But on the other side of it there are very exciting times. They (the team) are inexperienced and it’s about trying to get players to adapt and for the players need to get consistent messages from the captain. The make-up of the team can differ depending on the opposition,” he said.