Malinga is keen on nailing down a World Cup spot. © Getty
Mumbai Indians coach Mahela Jayawardene said that the team are still hoping to hang on to Lasith Malinga and have the Sri Lankan bowler play the full IPL. It was reported that Malinga might miss the first few matches for Mumbai Indians in order to take part in a tournament in Sri Lanka. Jayawardene, however, said that Mumbai Indians weren’t informed of his lack of availabilty during this phase, and that there needs to be some sort of ‘communication’ before the matter is resolved.
“We need to gather our thoughts and see,” Jayawardene told reporters in Mumbai on Sunday. “If you read the entire thing, the tournament is for four or five days in April, so till that time there’s availability. When we got him in the auction, SLC gave us his availability schedule, that tournament wasn’t part of that. So there is a conversation to be made and once we get through that conversation we’ll let you know. It’s way too early for us to comment on whether he’s going to be unavailable or whatever. We’ll see what happens.”
Jayawardene also confirmed that New Zealand pacer Adam Milne has been ruled out of the IPL as he was not fully fit. He added that the team has not zeroed in on a replacement yet.
“I think Adam, we were waiting on his fitness, because he had an injury four weeks back. So we needed to wait for his recovery and progress. We had to report two days back that he’s not 100% and he might not be able to be part of an extended IPL. So, we’ve realised that we need a replacement. We’re considering that, but we’ve got enough resources so we’ll wait on it.”
Hardik Pandya was another player under the injury cloud. The India allrounder has had to miss out on his national duties due to a back injury, but Jayawardene allayed any fears surrounding Pandya by saying he was 200% fit.
“If you see his instagram posts for the last month and a half, you see he’s been training. So he’s 200% fit. He’s actually too fit to be honest. We worked on his skills, because that is something he hasn’t been able to. He’s in very good space and raring to go.”
As with Pandya, the case for worldload management of myriad players who will play at the World Cup in England soon after the World Cup has been regularly talked about. The likes of Virat Kohli have advocated the need for players to take the responsibility to ensure they don’t overwork themselves, and Jayawardene echoed the same sentiments.
“With the Indian players, it’s about the individual players – how they feel and all that. And there’s a responsibility on the franchise as well, for the other international players as well who might be involved in the WCs, to make sure their workloads are managed.
“We’ll do that monitoring, and we’ve been given their workloads as well. The countries want them to be match fit as well. Play good cricket in a good space. You can’t go into the World Cup, wthout playing much cricket. That balance is something we’ll make sure is maintained. And hopefully, no injuries for any of the players.”