Has been phenomenal so far. For a year Sri Lanka were without the services of the eyebrow pierced, funky hairdo one. And were worse for it in a big big way.
Since his return in Feb of 2009 he has been playing plenty of 2020 cricket, in fact its the only format he has been playing since he his comeback against India in Colombo. I guess what they say about practice making things perfect is true cuz Malinga has 2020 bowling down to an art.
It mostly consists of yorkers, with a sprinkling of low full tosses followed by more yorkers. And its finished off with of course the yorkers. In international 2020s this year he has picked up 10 wickets at 15. In the IPL he managed 18 wickets at 17.
While these wicket numbers are not remarkable, in the context of 2020 cricket and in this year, Malinga has been fucking lethal.
Before the selectors decided to drop Malinga due to injuries, he was a ghost of his former self. His pace had dropped, his X factor had diminished. He averaged 30 in ODIs in 2008, compared to his career 25. But those are just stats, Malinga just was not the threat he was in 2007. Something changed. There were rumours that some people had asked him to straighten his arm more to ensure his longevity in the game.
If someone did tell him that, then we would like to extend a heartfelt, fuckyouverymuch, from all of us here at theflyslip.
Whatever it was, it was on top of an ankle/knee injury, and the selectors showed a lot of vision to get him out of the side and get him back to full fitness. He could have been Sri Lanka’s Flintoff or Simon Jones. Instead he is cranking up the heat on international batsmen after a years full rest.
And its not just his comeback wickets that inspire. His pace, his control is immaculate at this point. With Vass fading on the horizon, SL needed a man they could depend on. Someone Sangakkara could turn to. A year ago many would have doubted Malinga would be that man.
With him in the the bowling line up, SL is guaranteed a balanced attack.
Sangakkara can throw him the white ball and he is bound to get an over of yorkers. Slinga himself seems to have matured. Gone are the wild celebrations, although we wish he would pull those out once in a while. And the hair is understated by his standards. But he is a better bowler so I’ll take that any day.
The key will be when SL return to test cricket. With a ball that swings less, it would be interesting to see how Malinga copes in a format where you cant really rely on yorkers all the time for success. When you don’t have to be going at 10 rpo, its an easier task to dig out the yorker and prop over for a single.
It is a test Malinga is hopefully relishing.