Sri Lanka veteran Lasith Malinga decided to retire from franchise cricket on Wednesday after Mumbai Indians released the pacer. The lynchpin of the MI attack for years, Malinga has reportedly informed the MI management about throwing in the towel on his illustrious T20 career.

“Mumbai Indians management respects Lasith Malinga’s decision and hence he is not part of the club’s 18-member retention squad announced today,” the franchise said in a statement.

Malinga is the leading wicket-taker in the history of the tournament and has been a part of the franchise since its inception. Off late, he had lost pace and was struggling with injuries due to lack of cricket. From taking double hat-tricks to bowling toe-crushing yorkers, Malinga has been a legend of T20 cricket.

Speaking of his decision Malinga said: “After discussing with family, I think now is the right time to retire from all franchise cricket. The pandemic situation and the restrictions on travel will make it difficult for me given my personal circumstances to participate fully in franchise cricket for the next year and therefore it is best to make this decision now.

“I have discussed the same with Mumbai Indians management in recent days as they prepare for the upcoming auction and they have been very supportive and understanding. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Ambani family, everyone at the Mumbai Indians franchise and all our fans for the wonderful 12 years,” Malinga said on his retirment.

“Mumbai Indians has treated me like family, supporting me 100 % in every situation both on and off the field, and always giving me the confidence and the freedom to play my natural game whenever I walked onto the field,” he added further.