Malinga last played an ODI for Sri Lanka in 2017 against India and was left out for the one-off T20I against South Africa in August
Malinga last played an ODI for Sri Lanka in 2017 against India and was left out for the one-off T20I against South Africa in August

Once the most feared limited-overs bowler, Lasith Malinga is past his prime now, but Sri Lankan cricket team manager Charith Senanayake believes that the veteran pacer still has enough left in his tank to deliver the goods for the team in the upcoming 2018 Asia Cup in UAE, starting Sept 15.

“He is still a very effective bowler – if not the best in Sri Lanka – in powerplay overs and at the death [the last overs of a limited-overs match],” Senanayake told The National.

Malinga last played an ODI for Sri Lanka in 2017 against India and was left out for the one-off T20I against South Africa in August, but was recalled for the Asia Cup owing to his good form in the Global T20 League in Canada, where he finished as the third highest wicket-taker.

Sri Lanka will be hoping that Malinga finds his old magic and that Senanayake asserts would bode well for Sri Lanka’s 2019 World Cup preparations as well.

“I am certain that he will come out good, and it will be a significant boost for Sri Lanka’s near-term ODI plans,”he added.

Talking about former skipper Dinesh Chandimal’s availability, Senanayake hopes that the batsman will be fit for the tournament.  Chandimal had recently suffered a hairline fracture on the middle finger of his right hand.

“Chandimal, hopefully, will be fit and ready to tour,” said Senanayake. Sri Lanka face Bangladesh in their Group B opener in Dubai on Saturday, with Afghanistan being the other team in the pool. Group A includes India, Pakistan and Hong Kong.

Sri Lanka squad: Angelo Mathews (capt), Kushal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Upul Tharanga, Dinesh Chandimal, Danushka Gunathilaka, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka. Dhanajaya De Silva, Akila Dhananjaya, Dilruwan Perera, Amila Aponso, Kasun Rajitha, Suranga Lakmal, Dusmantha Chameera, Lasith Malinga

Asia Cup 2018 full schedule

 

Group Stage

15 September – Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka (Dubai)

16 September – Pakistan vs Qualifier (Dubai)

17 September – Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan (Abu Dhabi)

18 September – India vs Qualifier (Dubai)

19 September – India vs Pakistan (Dubai)

20 September – Bangladesh vs Afghanistan (Abu Dhabi)

 

Super Four

21 September – Group A Winner vs Group B Runner-up (Dubai)

21 September – Group B Winner vs Group A Runner-up (Abu Dhabi)

23 September – Group A Winner vs Group A Runner-up (Dubai)

23 September – Group B Winner vs Group B Runner-up (Abu Dhabi)

25 September – Group A Winner vs Group B Winner (Dubai)

26 September – Group A Runner-up vs Group B Runner-up (Abu Dhabi)

 

Final

28 September – Asia Cup 2018 Final (Dubai)