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I learned from Waqar, Wasim —Lasith
Sri Lanka fast bowler, Lasith Malinga, who became the first bowler in World Cup history to take two hat-tricks, has said that he learnt to bowl his deadly yorkers by watching Pakistan’s legendary pair of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. Malinga ran through the hapless Kenya batting to take a career best 6 for 38 runs, and pick up the Man-of-the-Match award, as the opposition crumbled under his assault for a mere 142 runs. “This is a slow pitch and bouncers will not work so I decided to go for yorkers,” Malinga said. “I didn’t have any idea of how to bowl a yorker when I first came into the national team but I was taught how to bowl them by Champaka Ramanayake and Rumesh Ratnayake (two former Sri Lanka fast bowlers). “I also watched Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis bowl and I learnt a lot from them.”
Malinga missed his side’s opening two matches with a sore back, but came back strongly to take the wickets of Tanmay Mishra, Peter Ongondo and Shem Ngoche with successive, full, swinging deliveries, with the latter two having their stumps rearranged. His hat-trick was spread over two overs —the last ball of his seventh and the first two balls of his eighth. In all, four of his six victims were bowled and the two others were trapped lbw. In the 2007 World Cup, Malinga grabbed the headlines with four in a row against South Africa at Guyana. “I rate the performance in South Africa with four wickets in four balls as the best. But I am happy that I got six wickets today which was my career best.”
Malinga stated that he could have played in the second match against Pakistan but did not on the advice of the team physio, Tommy Simsek. He said that he was happy to perform the way he did in front of the Sri Lankan public. “I have played for the national team for the past seven years. A lot of people have said that I would not be able to play for a long time (due to injury concerns). But I am happy to have played for the last seven years.” Contemplating his future the 27-year-old fast bowler said, “I don’t know how long I could play, but I am happy to contribute to the team whenever I play. I believe I can still play Test cricket after considering my injury concerns. When I feel that I can’t do anything for the team, I will happily retire.”