Lasith Malinga. AFP

Sri Lanka’s limited overs captain Lasith Malinga on Friday opted out of Indian T20 league franchise, Mumbai’s first six matches to qualify for the ICC World Cup 2019 squad. According to a report in ESPNCricinfo, Sri Lanka’s selectors have told players they must play in the upcoming Super Provincial One Day domestic tournament if they are to be considered for the World Cup and Malinga has chosen to fulfil that requirement.

“I had asked the board for the No-Objection Certificate for me to play in the IPL, and they had said that was fine, but that all players who want to go to the World Cup would need to stay back for the provincial tournament,” Malinga said. (ALSO READ: Dimuth Karunaratne in contention to captain Sri Lanka at ICC World Cup 2019)

“So, I told them I’d play in the provincial tournament, and I asked the board to inform Mumbai Indians and IPL, since it was their decision. I’m ok with losing those earnings from the IPL. I’m doing it for the country.”

Malinga, who is still with Sri Lanka’s T20I side in South Africa, was bought for INR 2 crore at the IPL Auction in December last year. Besides being present for the Super Provincial tournament, Malinga has also been named captain of the Galle side of the event which will run from April 4 to April 11, with the squads expected to be training a few days before the tournament starts.

“Once I become available for Mumbai Indians, I would have missed seven or eight games. So, there’s probably no point in them waiting around for me. Better for them to find someone else to replace me with,” he said.