Full name Separamadu Lasith Malinga
Born August 28, 1983, Galle
Playing role Bowler
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm fast
Bleached hair, tattoos, pierced eyebrows and the flamboyance of a star, Lasith Malinga was truly Sri Lanka’s pin-up boy. It helps when you have the skill set to back it up, and Malinga had it in plenty. That ball kiss before every delivery, that freaky sling as he bowled and the curl the ball took at 145ks has broken many a toe and has carved out a niche for itself in annals of world cricket. In a land where pitches were only a nicer term for rank turners and a giant in the form of Muttiah Muralitharan operated, Malinga prospered far beyond his shadow to shine in what ended up being Sri Lankan cricket’s golden period in the late 2000s and early 2010s.
Like the many kids growing up in Sri Lanka, Malinga started his cricket on the beach. An action as unique as his, where the ball is released almost parallel to the surface rather than the conventional perpendicular is bound to make you stand out. So the already locally-famous kid on the beaches of Galle with the tennis ball caught former Sri Lankan pacer, Champaka Ramanayake’s attention. An out-of-the-box action demanded out-of-the-box training methods. Ramanayake would glue a pair of boots to the crease and Malinga would spend hours hitting them, hence perfecting his famed yorker.
His raw talent wouldn’t be hidden for long, creating ripples in the domestic circuit leading to him getting fast-tracked into national reckoning. He did start off with Tests, in Australia in 2004, where his skiddy pace saw him among the wickets, but his true calling came in the coloured outfits. With an armoury that boasted of variations by the dozen, nobody could’ve been surprised.
BATTING & FIELDING STATS