Malinga in danger of missing World Cup

Sri Lanka fans will be waiting with bated breath for the next four months to see if premier fast bowler Lasith Malinga will be fit for the World Cup, as he is to undergo ankle surgery in the coming days.

Malinga has been suffering with a persistent ankle injury for years, but it has reached the point where surgery is required, and he has been sent to Melbourne in Australia for the operation, and will be out for up to 16 weeks.

As such, he will have only a week or two to get back to form before the World Cup starts in the Antipodes in February, but not having the surgery is no longer an option for the veteran paceman.

Sri Lanka Chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya told the country’s Daily Mirror: “Malinga will leave for Australia on Saturday morning as we are keen to see him recover as early as possible for the World Cup.

“Obviously, he is one of the most crucial players for Sri Lanka’s chances. We hope he will be able to play a few matches against New Zealand as it is important to get match fitness before World Cup starts.”

Team physio Steve Mount explained that Malinga suffered from a “long term issue with chronic left ankle pain” due to “a combination of cartilage degeneration, excessive bone in the joint, and bone marrow ocedema.”

He added: “Up until this point, this has been successfully managed with conservative, non-operative measures. This includes ongoing physio/rehab/load management and anti-inflammatory (cortisone) injections into the joint when the issue has flared up.

“He has reported an increasing amount of pain while bowling and running over the last couple of weeks. While previously the issue has been manageable, this latest episode has not allowed him to bowl/run at his required intensity.

“He had an injection on 5 September, however, unlike past episodes, this has failed to reduce his symptoms.

“This issue has been discussed with the player, chairman of selectors, coach, captain and team manager. We all agree that the main aim should be to give Malinga the best chance of being fully fit for the World Cup in February next year.”

The surgery will be done by Dr David Young in Melbourne, and Mount assured that the player was in capable hands: “Dr Young is familiar with Lasith’s condition, and has previously been one of the doctors who has settled the issue with a cortisone injection.

“This particular surgery requires a high level of expertise. Dr Young has done a number of similar operations on both Australian and Sri Lankan fast bowlers, and has a track record of very good outcomes.

“Given his expertise in the area, and his familiarity with Lasith’s condition, I think he is the most appropriate person for Lasith to consult.”