Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga is likely to be available for the next two games for his franchise Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Mumbai Indians next take on Royal Challengers Bangalore on 28 March followed by a tie against Kings XI Punjab, with both matches being away fixtures.
The Rohit Sharma-led team lost their opening game against Delhi Capitals on Sunday at Wankhede in Mumbai. The hosts were hammered for 213 runs from their 20 overs with explosive batsman Rishabh Pant playing a starring role.
According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, the BCCI asked Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to make the pacer available for as much of the tournament as possible. Malinga is then expected to fly to Sri Lanka to participate in the Super Provincial One-Day Tournament.
The One-Day tournament in Sri Lanka is due to start from 4 April which ends a week later on 11 April. However, there is still no clarity on whether Malinga will be in India for the entirety of the IPL or will fly home to participate in the competition midway and then return back to re-join his franchise
Mumbai Indians coach and former Sri Lanka cricketer Mahela Jayawardene on Sunday told reporters, "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."
Earlier reports suggested Malinga was ruled out of the IPL for first six games.
SLC had stressed that the domestic One-Day tournament was mandatory for all cricketers seeking a spot in the Sri Lankan team.
However, the latest report reveals that the phone calls from BCCI to SLC prompted the change in the stance.
SLC chief selector Ashantha de Mel though has made it clear whether Malinga participates in the Provincial tournament or not, there’s no question over his place in Sri Lanka’s World Cup squad.
“We have no issues if he goes to IPL – the board had given him a no-objection certificate already, so he’s free to go. Anyway he has been one of our best bowlers in one-dayers, so there’s no question about his place in the team,” De Mel was quoted as saying in the report.