Mahela Jayawardene Praises Lasith Malinga's Commitment
Sri Lankan middle-order batsman Mahela Jayawardene heaped praises on fellow team-mate and pacer Lasith Malinga who made a direct return to international cricket in the World Cup after a five-month hiatus.
Despite not being at his peak form, Malinga has been Sri Lanka’s leading wicket-taker in the tournament so far with 11 wickets from six matches and Jayawardene pointed out mental toughness as the pacer’s biggest strength.
"Lasith's put in a lot of effort over the last three or four weeks to get into rhythm," said Jayawardene.
"You have to give him a lot of credit, having had an operation on his ankle.
“He hasn't bowled for four months and it takes a lot for a guy to come back for a big tournament.
“The biggest thing for him was to mentally be ready to land that foot 100 percent knowing that there was no pain.
“Once he did that he's bowling really well.”
Malinga who underwent an operation on his left ankle consequently remained on the sidelines before making his return for the warm-up matches of the World Cup.
With 282 One-Day International wickets from 183 matches at 27.25, Malinga is easily Sri Lanka’s most potent limited-overs bowler in recent times and Jayawardene stressed on the impact the pacer had on his side’s bowling unit.
"The Australia game and the England game before that, his finishing has been pretty good, his movement has been good, the variations have come good.
“When that happens the rest of the bowling unit picks themselves up around Lasith.
"When Lasith's a bit down, everyone else are a bit down as well.
“So the last few games have been good.”
Despite expressing his happiness over Sri Lanka’s performance in the tournament so far, Jayawardene warned against complacency with the knockout stages around the corner.
“You don't want to peak too early.
“You want to play your best cricket at the business end."
The quarter-final phase of the World Cup starts on Wednesday with Sri Lanka taking on South Africa at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
© Cricket World 2015