(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Lasith Malinga will be the Sri Lanka men’s team’s bowling strategy coach during their five-T20I tour of Australia.
According to an SLC release, Malinga will “support Sri Lanka’s bowlers” and provide “tactical insight and technical expertise to help the on-field execution of strategic plans”, which essentially means that he will function more like a consultant, than a bona-fide bowling coach.
“We have some very talented young bowlers and I am very excited about the opportunity to share my experience and knowledge to help them develop,” Malinga said, following his appointment.
Malinga has previous experience with such a role. In 2018, he was the Mumbai Indians bowling mentor, before he returned in 2019 as a player. In Sri Lanka, he is reputed for his unconventional approach to bowling, and his strategic thinking – attributes that are believed to have helped him become one of the island’s greatest limited-overs players.
For now, this appointment is described as a short-term role, but if it goes well, there is a possibility Malinga could return for other assignments.
Meanwhile, Rumesh Ratnayake will continue as Sri Lanka’s interim coach for the Australia tour, with SLC yet to appoint a permanent successor to Mickey Arthur.
Earlier on Wednesday, SLC had also named a squad of 20 for the T20I series in Australia. Opener Danushka Gunathilaka was recalled for the first time since being suspended for breaching Covid-19 protocol on the tour of England last year, and Kusal Mendis, who was suspended alongside Gunathilaka, was also picked. There was no room, however, for Niroshan Dickwella, the other player whose one-year suspension was lifted earlier this month.
The series will be played from February 11 to 20 in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.