Just 12 hours after helping Mumbai Indians beat defending Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Chennai Super Kings, Lasith Malinga was picking up a seven-wicket haul for Galle in the Super Four Provincial One-Day Tournament in Sri Lanka which began on Thursday.
Malinga had returned with figures of 3-34 on Wednesday at the Wankhede stadium to lead Mumbai’s charge to a 37-run win over Chennai before making the overnight trip back to Sri Lanka to join up with the Galle squad.
Captaining Galle on Thursday against Kandy, the veteran pacer finished with figures of 7-49 to lead his side to a commanding 156-run win in the domestic tournament opener.
Playing across two countries in as many days and picking up 10 wickets speaks volumes of Malinga’s commitment to both the IPL and the Sri Lankan national team.
The 35-year-old had initially been granted permission by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to skip the entire Super Four tournament in favour of playing in the IPL.
However, considering that the domestic tournament will have a bearing on Sri Lanka’s World Cup selections and captaincy candidature, Malinga has decided to make himself available for Galle.
The Super Four Provincial tournament will run until April 11 meaning Malinga could miss Mumbai’s next two IPL fixtures should Galle make the final.
Karanuratne had been arrested and subsequently released on bail on Sunday after he was involved in an accident with a three-wheeler in Colombo which resulted in the driver of the three-wheeler being admitted to the hospital for minor injuries.
Following the episode, the Sri Lanka skipper had taken to Facebook to offer an apology. Now, the 30-year-old has been slapped with a fine equivalent to his match fee for one Test match by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) for violating his player contract.
“When you’re preparing for an important competition like the World Cup, and we’re spending so much money on this upcoming (Super Provincial One-Day Cup) domestic tournament, we just cannot tolerate this kind of nonsense,” SLC secretary Mohan de Silva was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“We just want to send a strong message to everyone that we mean business,” he added.
The left-handed opening batsman had only recently led Sri Lanka to a historic 2-0 clean sweep of the Test series in South Africa. It was the first time an Asian side had managed to beat the Proteas in a Test series in their own backyard.
Karunaratne is also reportedly one of the contenders to lead Sri Lanka in the upcoming ODI World Cup in England. He will have a chance to stake his claim when he leads Kandy in the upcoming Super Provincial One-Day Cup which begins on Friday.
The Men in Green were whitewashed by 5-0 for only the fourth time in their history with Aaron Finch and his men coming up trumps in all departments.
To add insult to injury to Pakistan, five players including debutant Abid Ali have failed their fitness test according to a report by Geo News.
Abid Ali had impressed in the fourth ODI where he made his debut by becoming only the third Pakistan batsman to register a century in their maiden 50-over outing for the country.
Along with Abid, the other four players to have failed the fitness test according to the report are Umar Akmal, stand-in skipper Imad Wasim, young pacer Mohammad Hasnain and senior leg-spinner Yasir Shah.
Imad had stood in as the Pakistan skipper in the fourth and fifth ODIs after an injury to Shoaib Malik. 18-year-old pacer Hasnain was handed his Pakistan debut in the series with the Quetta Gladiators youngster capturing two wickets in his three appearances.
Umar, meanwhile, had a high score of 48 in the five matches with the right-handed batsman also handed an official reprimand for a late night out on the eve of the final ODI.
Leg-spinner Yasir Shah was given four outings in the series in the absence of Shadab Khan but was unable to create the desired impact with just the four wickets to show for.
The team’s shoddy efforts on the field in the 5-0 drubbing is said to have concerned fielding coach Grant Bradburn with several catches put down.
There will reportedly be no compromise on the players’ fitness levels when the team’s World Cup training camp gets underway in Lahore. Pakistan are due to depart for England for the 2019 ICC World Cup on August 23 where they will first play a five-match ODI series along with a sole T20 clash against the hosts.