You must have seen village boys playing with sling but, have you seen a middle aged man doing so? Obviously not! Many games have age limitations except cricket where you can continue with your ‘Slingshot’ skills. Yes, I am talking about “Lasith Malinga”. Separamadu Lasith Malinga is a Sri Lankan cricketer and present vice-captain of their T20 Team. He is a specialist fast bowler with a unique round arm action, sometimes referred to a sling action.
He was born on 28 August 1983 at Galle, Sri Lanka. As to consider his background, he was not a silver spoon child. He hailed from a lower middle class family background. He used to play on sand banks and coconut grooves by a river with his friends. Malinga started his cricketing career at Vidyaloka College, where he was noticed by a former Sri Lankan bowler, Champaka Ramanayake. Impressed by his bowling actions, he invited Malinga to join Galle Cricket Club. His bowling style has led his friends call him Malinga Slinga.
He made his Test debut on 1 July 2004 against Australia at Darwin Marrara Oval. He was gifted by immediate success, taking 6 wickets in the match .He was also presented one of the match stumps by Adam Gilchrist after the Game. He casted himself into Sri Lanka’s fastest Test bowler and secured his position in Test team. His bowling speed between 140 to 150 km/hr with a well placed bouncer terrified almost all the batsman. He demolished the New Zealand top order in 2006/07 test series against New Zealand helping Sri Lanka to draw the match. He announced his retirement from Test Cricket on 22 April 2011 in order to prolong his career in ODI and T20 cricket.
His career bounced to a remarkable point when he debuted in One Day International on July 11, 2004 against UAE at Dambulla. During the Sri Lankan team’s tour of New Zealand in 2004-2005, the New Zealand team was completely unable to read Malinga’s ball. Malinga came to limelight during the 2007 Cricket World Cup. On March 28, 2007, he became the first ever player to take four wickets in four consecutive balls against South Africa. Despite Malinga’s dangerous spell, South Africa managed to win the match by one wicket. During 2011 Cricket World Cup, Malinga took his second hat-trick in his career against Kenya. This made him the first bowler to take two World Cup hat-tricks. In August 2011, he came with another hat-trick against Australia to become the first man to take 3 hat-tricks in ODI cricket.
If we talk about T20 International, he made his debut on 15 June 2006 against England. In the 2011 Champions League Twenty20, he came victorious, achieved the position of highest wicket taker in the tournament and won the Golden Wicket for his performance. He also won the award for the player of the tournament. Sri Lankan Malinga has been named as the official event ambassador for the World Twenty20 championship. Later on October 2012, he was crowned as the vice-captain of the Sri Lankan Twenty20 international team.
Regarding T20 domestic, Malinga plays for Mumbai Indians in Indian Premier League (IPL). He is their strike bowler and is a leading bowler in the competition. He won the purple cap award in the fourth season of IPL with 28 scalp in 16 matches.
Malinga’s records show his great endeavor and dedication towards cricket. He is the only bowler in cricketing history to take four wickets in four consecutive balls in international cricket. The first and till now, only bowler to take 3 hat-tricks in ODI. He and Angelo Mathews hold the highest run partnership for 9th wicket in ODI, of 132 run against Australia. He is the only bowler who keeps the record of having two world cup hat-tricks, against South Africa in the 2007 Cricket World cup and other against Kenya in the 2011.
From Galle Cricket Club to Sri Lankan Team, he impressed all by his bowling action and pace, right from start of his career. His pace along with sling action bowling makes batsman harder to stand on the pitch. Even the cameras have to slow down to catch a glimpse of Malinga’s ball.