End of an era: Lasith Malinga retires from all forms of cricket

Sri Lankan pace bowler says he wants to help next generation of cricketers

Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Tuesday, brining an end to a memorable 17-year career in which he became the highest wicket-taker in T20 internationals.

Malinga, 38, said he would now focus on supporting the next generation of cricketers. The veteran quick was dropped for Sri Lanka's current T20 series against South Africa, and had been considering giving up since leading the team against India in January last year.

"I have decided to retire from T20I cricket marking my retirement from all formats of cricket," he said on his Facebook page.

"But, I will be continuously supporting the younger generations," he added. "While my shoes will rest, my love for the game will never ask for rest."

Malinga, who made his Sri Lanka debut against Australia in a Test in 2004, gained a reputation for his searing in-swinging yorkers that were hard to play due to his distinctive round-arm action.

The 38-year-old took 546 international wickets, including a record 107 in T20s. He was a member of the squad that reached the one-day World Cup final in 2011 and captained the side that won the 2014 T20 World Cup.

Malinga is the only bowler to take four wickets in four consecutive balls twice in internationals - against South Africa in a 2007 ODI and against New Zealand in a T20 in 2019.

He retired from ODIs in July 2019. His last Test was in 2010, which he gave up to concentrate on limited overs cricket. His teammate from the 2014 final and current MCC president Kumar Sangakkara paid tribute to Malinga's "awesome career".

"Your contribution to Sri Lanka and world cricket will stand for all time," he said on Twitter.

Updated: September 14th 2021, 3:49 PM