Friends, fans congratulate Malinga on an extraordinary career
Lasith Malinga’s T20 dominance has been undisputed. He climbed highs none dared to see, took strides so massive that he swept through records with every run-up of his. His phenomenal career set the bar for a T20 bowler very high, and the numbers speak for themselves. And his 16-year-old career came to an end with a heartfelt tweet from the man himself.
Hanging up my #T20 shoes and #retiring from all forms of cricket! Thankful to all those who supported me in my journey, and looking forward to sharing my experience with young cricketers in the years to come.https://t.co/JgGWhETRwm #LasithMalinga #Ninety9— Lasith Malinga (@ninety9sl) September 14, 2021
Here’s a quick scan of the fast bowler’s achievements that will tell us why we speak of Malinga every time we speak of T20 cricket. Currently, Malinga is the leading wicket taker in Men’s T20Is with 107 scalps and at 170 wickets, he sits at the top in the IPL wickets table too.
Overall, Malinga has 390 wickets in T20s, out of which 152 were “bowleds”, the most by any player. This is the highest percentage of bowleds (38.97%) for anyone with over 200 wickets in this format of the game.
Malinga also has 195 wickets for Mumbai Indians alone, a record for the most by a bowler for a single team in T20s. His very second ball of the debut game earned Malinga his first wicket in MI Blue and Gold, while his final ball gave MI a record 4th IPL title after a narrow 1-run win against CSK.
In T20 World Cups, he has 38 wickets, just one below Shahid Afridi. Malinga also captained the iconic 2014 T20 World Cup win for the Sri Lankans, which was also the last international game Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara played in that format.
And when a man of this stature announces his retirement from the game, the whole world comes together to congratulate him on the most astonishing career.
Cricket fraternity takes to Twitter
Time I first faced you in the Galle nets as a 18 year old net bowler to the Curly coloured hair icon you have left us with amazing memories!! Fantastic team mate.. wishing you all the very best my friend and thank you!! https://t.co/IV7HiZLh0i— Mahela Jayawardena (@MahelaJay) September 14, 2021
Congrats on an awesome career. Your contribution to Sri Lanka and world cricket will stand for all time. Been such a pleasure playing with you. All the very best in what you decide to do from now. So much knowledge to give. Legend !!! https://t.co/iuvu3pI9ip— Kumar Sangakkara (@KumarSanga2) September 14, 2021
Congratulations on an illustrious career, Mali and all the very best for everything the future holds. It was a pleasure playing alongside you. https://t.co/8dkjndMgQ2— Jasprit Bumrah (@Jaspritbumrah93) September 14, 2021
Fans, too, expressed their love for the “Yorker King”
There Is None Here Who Hasn't Copied This Bowling Action In Their Childhood :) Always Put A Smile On The Face Even After Hitting Boundaries By Batsman !!! A Great Player #Lasithmalinga @mipaltan#malinga @ICC pic.twitter.com/ztD8V7TZCc— Saumil Patel (@saumil_p_patel) September 14, 2021
Congratulations on your wonderful career Mali.!! Wish u all the best— Cricket Fan (@srushti934519) September 14, 2021
We gonna miss you ❤️
The best T20 bowler, Yorker King, Hatrick Specialist
Thank you Malinga @ninety9sl #LasithMalinga pic.twitter.com/2ypdThjonh
Lasith Malinga took five hat-tricks in international cricket. A feat that will be hard to match. pic.twitter.com/amvaIyDnhF— Rex Clementine (@RexClementine) September 14, 2021
We can safely say that the shoes he has left behind are too massive to be filled. Even as years pass and we revisit Malinga’s games, his yorkers will draw admiration, his run-up with this bouncing hair will give us a rush of adrenaline, and the “MA-LIN-GAAA MA-LIN-GAA” chants will echo in our ears forever.