Mumbai Indians’ Lasith Malinga has struggled to find the form this year that has served him so well for the past two seasons.
The Sri Lankan bowler with the crazy hair and even crazier action, Lasith Malinga, appears to have been found out by IPL batsmen in the sixth version of the tournament.
Malinga has blazed through the top order of sides in short-over cricket for a number of years now, making his first real impression during the 2007 World Cup.
The pace bowler’s 18 wickets from the competition were impressive enough, but it was his four wickets in four balls against South Africa that really lives long in the memory – it was the first time the feat had been achieved in international cricket.
The 29-year-old played 30 Test matches for his county, but has always been considered to be a short-over specialist and retired from the long form of the game in April 2011.
His decision to concentrate on 50 and 20-over cricket appeared to be justified immediately as Malinga was awarded the Purple Cap at the 2011 IPL for taking the most wickets.
The Sri Lankan continued this form into 2012 as he once again was a leading star for Mumbai Indians, with his fast yorkers and trajectory that bamboozled batsmen.
The paceman’s 195 wickets in 144 Twenty20 matches at an average of 17.46 is quite an achievement in a game that is considered to favour the batsman.
Yet criticism is starting to come Malinga’s way after he has taken just three wickets in this year’s tournament.
His critics argue that opposition players have sussed his bowling action and that the Sri Lanka international is a one-trick pony who has no back-up plan to his delivery based on length and speed.
Mumbai have been average so far this year, losing to whipping boys Delhi Daredevils on Sunday and will need Malinga to find some form quickly if they want to make the final four of the tournament.