Lasith Malinga and Mustafizur Rahman. File Photo
Sri Lanka paceman Lasith Malinga, who didn't find any takers during the 2018 IPL auction, has been roped in by his former franchise, Mumbai Indians (MI), as their bowling mentor.
Barring the first one, Malinga was part of every edition of the IPL with MI and was more or less, the face of their bowling attack for most of those campaigns. During that time, he endeared himself to the Wankhede faithful with chants of 'Maaaalinga, Maaaalinga' being a constant feature of Mumbai's home matches.
"It's a great opportunity to continue my association with Mumbai Indians," Malinga said about the appointment. "Mumbai has been my home away from home for the last decade. As a player, I have enjoyed the journey with Mumbai Indians and now as mentor, I look forward to the new chapter".
'Slinga Malinga,' as he's fondly called, is also the leading wicket-taker in IPL history with a total of 154 wickets from 110 matches - 20 more than the next best Amit Mishra. He won the purple cap once - in 2011. He also played pivotal roles in all three IPL finals which MI won.
But due to deteriorating fitness at the age of 34, Malinga hasn't been the same bowler. He's only made sporadic appearances for Sri Lanka recently, and the national selectors have urged him to make his way back through domestic cricket.
Nevertheless, Malinga's addition to the support staff could be beneficial for their young bowlers. In the past, Jasprit Bumrah has spoken highly of how his interactions with the veteran have helped him improve.
MI co-owner Akash Ambani concurred with the same: "Mumbai Indians have a proven record of scouting and bringing forth the young talents at the national stage. It will be a boon for these youngsters as well the established ones to have the combined force of Shane Bond and Lasith Malinga to back them."
Malinga will be part of a star-studded support staff which already includes Mahela Jayawardene (head coach), Shane Bond (bowling coach), Robin Singh (batting coach) and James Pemment (fielding coach).