MUMBAI (Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s limited-overs skipper Lasith Malinga says he is ready to sacrifice his earnings from the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) in order to win a place in the country’s World Cup squad.
Selectors have made it mandatory for Sri Lanka players to participate in a 50-overs tournament at home if they want to be considered for selection in the 15-member squad for the May 30-July 14 Cricket World Cup in England and Wales.
“I had asked the board for the No-Objection Certificate for me to play in the IPL, and they had said that was fine, but that all players who want to go to the World Cup would need to stay back for the provincial tournament,” Malinga told ESPNcricinfo.
“So I told them I’d play in the provincial tournament, and I asked the board to inform Mumbai Indians and IPL, since it was their decision. I’m ok with losing those earnings from IPL. I’m doing it for the country.”
The 35-year-old fast bowler, who has taken the most wickets (154 in 110 matches) since the first edition of the IPL in 2008, was bought by the Mumbai franchise for 20 million Indian rupees ($289,184.50) in the January auction for the upcoming season.
He had worked as a bowling mentor for the same team after going unsold in 2018.
Malinga is currently leading the Sri Lanka limited-overs team in South Africa with one Twenty20 match remaining in the series.
“Once I become available for Mumbai Indians, I would have missed seven or eight games,” Malinga added. “So there’s probably no point in them waiting around for me. Better for them to find someone else to replace me with.”
The IPL kicks off later on Saturday with a match between India captain Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore and champions Chennai, who are led by India wicketkeeper and former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Peter Rutherford)