Separamadu Lasith Malinga (born August 28, 1983, in Galle, Sri Lanka) is a Sri Lankancricketer and present vice-captain of their T20 side. He is a specialist fast bowler with a unique round-arm action, sometimes referred to as a sling action, which leads to his nickname, "Slinga Malinga" and conversely, his bowling style being nicknamed the "Malinga Slinga" both terms still consistently being associated with him in street cricket and general cricketing society. He is well known for his ability to take consecutive wickets: he is the first and only bowler in the world to have two World Cup hat-tricks, the first and only bowler to have taken three hat-tricks in ODIs and he is also the first, and currently the only, player to have taken four wickets in four consecutive balls in any form of international cricket. On 22 April 2011, he announced his retirement from Test cricket. He bowls around a speed of 140 km/h (87 mph). His fastest ball was clocked at 155.7 km/h (96.8 mph) in 2011.
His ODI and T20 bowling average and economy rate are amongst the best in the game. He is known for his ability to bowl yorkers and slower bowls to restrict scoring in the later overs of games.
Malinga grew up in modest circumstances in Rathgama. He often played cricket with friends on the sand banks and coconut groves by a river in his cricket-obsessed village. He had his education at three schools, namely Mahinda College, Galle, Vidyaloka College, Galle and Devapathiraja College, Rathgama. Malinga started his cricket career at Vidyaloka College, where he was discovered by former Sri Lankan pacemanChampaka Ramanayake. Champaka, so impressed by Malinga's raw ability, invited him to join the Galle Cricket Club. Champaka also helped him to join the first XI cricket team of Mahinda College, Galle. A short-lived attempt to make Malinga's action more upright led to much reduced pace and failing accuracy. Malinga promptly returned to his natural action with success, and with great encouragement from Ramanayake.
Malinga's action has attracted great comment. The cricket reference text Wisden has noted that Malinga's delivery action is similar to "slinging". Malinga has said that his unique action was a result of learning to play cricket exclusively with a tennis ball. Typically, younger bowlers are encouraged to deliver the ball with their arm near vertical to remove or reduce direction variables.
He developed into Sri Lanka's fastest Test bowler and a regular member of both their Test and One Day International sides. He has earned a reputation for troubling batsmen with his lively pace and well-directed bouncer. He regularly bowls at speeds between 140 and 150 km/h (87 to 93 mph) and sometimes slightly faster. As time went by he started to lose pace clocking around 130 to 140 km/h. His slower off cutter was also menacing. He burst onto the test scene after ripping through the New Zealand top order, helping Sri Lanka draw the test series on their 2006/07 tour of New Zealand. He announced his retirement from Test cricket on 22 April 2011 in order to prolong his career in ODI and T20 cricket.
Malinga debuted on July 11, 2004 when Sri Lanka played the United Arab Emirates at Dambulla. Since then he has become a regular member on the ODI squad.
During the Sri Lankan team's tour of New Zealand in 2004–2005, the New Zealand team found his action hard to play and the NZ captain, Stephen Fleming asked the umpire to change his belt and tie to a lighter colour so that they would be better able to see the ball being released from Malinga's hand. The umpire did not do so.
Malinga became a highlight during the 2007 Cricket World Cup, when on March 28, 2007, against South Africa he became the first ever player to take four wickets in four consecutive balls in international cricket. This was also only the fifth hat-trick in World Cup history, the third ODI hat-trick for Sri Lanka and the 24th in all ODI history. Malinga's victims were Shaun Pollock (bowled at 13), Andrew Hall (caught by Upul Tharanga at 0), Jacques Kallis (caught by Kumar Sangakkara at 86), and Makhaya Ntini (bowled at 0). Despite Malinga's lethal spell, however, South Africa proceeded to win the match by 1 wicket with 10 balls still left. During the 2011 Cricket World Cup, Malinga took his second career hat-trick in Sri Lanka's group stage match against Kenya. This made him the first bowler to take two World Cup hat-tricks, and the fourth to take two hat-tricks in all One Day International cricket (alongside Wasim Akram, Saqlain Mushtaq and Chaminda Vaas). In August 2011, he managed yet another hat-trick, against Australia, to become the first man to take three hat-tricks in ODI cricket.
Malinga plays for Indian Premier League (IPL) team Mumbai Indians. He is their strike bowler in this format and is a leading bowler in the competition. World record holder Sachin Tendulkar and ex-Mumbai Indians captain described Malinga as an important cog in the Mumbai Indians game plan after the retirement of strike bowler and captain Shaun Pollock, who represented the team in the first season. In the first match for the Mumbai Indians in the fourth season, he got 5 wickets against Delhi Daredevils, restricting them to a mere 95. His best bowling figures ever is 6/7 for Melbourne Stars against Perth Scorchers in December 2012.
He won the Purple Cap award (most wickets) in the fourth season of Indian Premier League with 28 scalps in 16 matches. Throughout the tournament, he led the Mumbai Indians attack from the front and was instrumental in many victories.
In the 2011 Champions League Twenty20, he was the highest wicket taker in the tournament and won the golden wicket for this performance and won the award for the player of the tournament. Malinga also hit a lot of runs. Sri Lankan pacer Malinga has been named as the official event ambassador for the World Twenty20 Championships by ICC.
Malinga was named as the vice-captain of the Sri Lankan Twenty20 International team in October, 2012.
Only bowler in cricketing history to take four wickets in four consecutive balls in international cricket (vs. South Africa March 2007).
The first and, to date, only bowler in cricketing history to take three hat-tricks in One Day International cricket, taking his third in August 2011.
Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews hold the highest run partnership for the 9th wicket in an ODI: 132 runs, against Australia in Melbourne in 2010. Malinga scored 56 Runs from 48 balls including six fours and two sixes; Mathews scored 77 runs off 84 deliveries including eight fours and one six.
Sir Viv Richards admired Lasith Malinga's impressive bowling during the ICC World Cup 2007 which was held in Caribbean, saying that Lasith Malinga is the best thing that happened to Sri Lankan cricket after Aravinda De Silva.