CT Sports: Sri Lanka's former Twenty20 Captain Lasith Malinga who joined the team yesterday questioned the rationale behind his selection for the T20 World Cup matches at a time he is not physically fit to play.
He alleged that the new Selection Committee included him in the squad despite repeated requests by him to do otherwise due to his knee injury.
"Why do the selectors want to pick a half-fit bowler like me when there are other fit bowlers around?" questioned Malinga.
Malinga also felt that it was unacceptable to include players who played in all matches which Sri Lanka lost and keep out the players who did not feature in those matches.
"I had written to the previous Selection Committee too asking for a replacement fast bowler as my injury could turn from bad to worse when playing. I am not certain whether I will be able to play the first match against Afghanistan on 17 March at Eden Gardens even though I have been included in the team as the 15th member" said Malinga, who finally arrived in India yesterday.
He further said his prime target is to somehow play the match on 17, and if his injury is aggravated he will step down and request a replacement for the team.
Malinga arrived later than his teammates as he underwent treatment for the injury on his left knee. He said if his 'bone bruise' continues to give him trouble he might even contemplate on retiring from international cricket after this T20 World Cup.
He also questioned as to how the selectors could pik players overnight without even properly observing their performances? The legendary player, who was sharing his thoughts while on the flight to Kolkata from Colombo, lamented that everything he does or says in good spirit is getting twisted.
Malinga has been nursing this injury since last December. He missed the two-match series against New Zealand, came back for the Asia Cup in his designated role as Twenty20 Captain, but was sidelined immediately after a match-winning display against the UAE.
In fact, Malinga has played only five of Sri Lanka's 13 T20Is since the start of 2015 in a very scattered manner: one match in May, one in July, one in August, two in November and his final game was in February 2016.
Malinga's fitness issues forced a change in leadership and Angelo Mathews was appointed captain of Sri Lanka for the World T20. But the selection panel - both the current one led by Aravinda de Silva and the previous one led by Kapila Wijegunawardene - seemed reluctant to completely rule Malinga out because of the impact he can have. He is the most successful bowler in the World T20 - 38 wickets in 31 matches. Overall he has 299 wickets in T20 cricket.