Lasith Malinga, addressing the Colombo crowd in his native Sinhalese language after the ODI against Bangladesh late on Friday night, spoke at length about his career and Sri Lanka cricket in an emotional speech.
— Sri Lanka Cricket 🇱🇰 (@OfficialSLC) July 27, 2019
Asked to speak after a ceremony where he was presented with mementos, Malinga started by speaking about his teachers in Galle, who let his skill blossom. He mentioned several of his teachers by name, also calling out Champika Ramanayake, the coach who ‘discovered’ him, to appear on the dais with him.
“There was a 5 pm curfew at home but I used to sneak out to play cricket. My mother soon realized she couldn’t stop it and was all in. My father attended all my matches and has been my biggest supporter,” Malinga said.
He then thanked his wife for helping him settle in Colombo, also mentioning his late mother-in-law’s cooking. He also thanked former players Marvan Atapattu and Mahela Jayawardene and former President Mahindra Rajapaksa for their support in his career.
Lasith Malinga credits former President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his farewell speech. “When I got injured in 2008, when there was no one to look after me, It was @PresRajapaksa introduced me to Dr. Eliyantha White & helped me to recover” #LKA #SriLanka pic.twitter.com/8nocCp9Hte
— Sri Lanka Tweet 🇱🇰 (@SriLankaTweet) July 27, 2019
He then referred to the one-year period when he was “dropped from the team for no reason”. He then thanked the fans for praying for his return, also saying he is grateful for the opportunity of having led his team in the 2014 World T20.
Finally, he addressed those critics who “repeatedly said that he gave up Test Cricket early solely to play more in the IPL and get more money”. He said, “This is not true. I only did this to keep playing in national colours. This allowed me to prolong my ODI and T20 careers. I will continue playing T20s at least until the World T20.”
He finished his speech by asking all the fans in the stadium to not leave as he would go to individually greet them.
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