Hyderabad: Suryakumar Yadav on Saturday hinted that Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga will soon be back to play for Mumbai Indians (MI) after he flew back home to feature in a domestic one-day tournament.
Malinga, who has played three matches for Mumbai Indians this season, took 3 for 34 in their last game against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and then flew to Colombo early next morning. He then travelled to Kandy to play Sri Lanka's domestic Super Four tournament, where he recorded career-best List A figures of 7 for 49, representing Galle.
After his departure, there were speculations that Malinga might not participate in the rest of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
"I do not think we are missing him for the whole season, not to our notice. He has done well and whenever we get him back, he will again start his service," Suryakumar told reporters here.
The 28-year-old had played the role of a finisher for Kolkata from 2014 to 2017, but since last year Mumbai Indians have asked him to bat at the top-order, and he said his ability to be flexible has kept him in good stead.
"I have always enjoyed batting anywhere because I have kept myself flexible," said Suryakumar, who had scored a 43-ball 59 to set up MI's win over Chennai Super Kings in their last match.
"As you know, when I was with other franchises I have batted at all numbers. It is a different role but at number three it is close to opening as well, so I don't see it any differently.
"Rather I look at it in a way like I have a good responsibility on my shoulders, to play a grinding innings, give a good platform for the lower order and provide firepower."
Mumbai will face Sunrisers Hyderabad, who have been on a winning streak to sit at the top of the table, Saturday.
"We have been following their game and we have some plans for them but we are actually focussing on what we are doing good instead of focusing on them," Suryakumar said.
"The mood in the camp is really good, we have just won our home game. So we are focusing on our strong points, what we can do on the game day and take it from there."
Asked if spinners will play a key role here, Suryakumar said: "Looking at the last three games, it doesn't look like it helped the spinners. It was a good wicket to bat on. I haven't had a look at it till now.
"It always helps spinners and slower bowlers. We have a few plans in mind, hopefully, we will have a look at the wicket and go ahead."
Mumbai Indians openers Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma have struggled so far in the tournament but Suryakumar said they are just a game away from finding their form.
"It is a crucial spot. We haven't got starts but they are batting well. As a team, we have discussed that. They have been putting their heart out at the net. It is a matter of just one game and hopefully we will get a good start tomorrow," he said.
Stressing on the importance of their win over CSK, Suryakumar said, "It was really important because they won all their games, they were top of their level. So winning against one of the best sides in the tournament ... I think the brand of cricket that MI is known to play, we showed that in the last game.
"The want-to-win attitude was there in our last game. So let us carry that and look forward to tomorrow game."
Asked if there is an area of concern, Surya said, "We have just won a home game, so we don't want to pinpoint on those areas. Things that we have done right, let's focus on that, I think that would be a better idea going into an away game.
"We are playing hard and positive cricket and if we can focus on that everything will fall into place."