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Sunday , April 24 , 2011
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Malinga email to SLC is silent on quitting Tests
- Pacer to meet top officials on Wednesday; kumar agrees to lead in an emergency

Calcutta: The last, apparently, has not been heard on Lasith ‘Slinger’ Malinga’s Test career.

On Saturday evening, a well-placed source of The Telegraph, associated with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), said from Colombo: “Malinga’s email to us today only says he’s not available for the three Tests in England, there’s nothing about his quitting that premier form altogether.”

That, clearly, contradicts what Malinga himself told the world, through a smartly drafted statement, on Friday.

Malinga’s statement, which left the fraternity stunned, included the following: “I have carefully considered my options and have decided that not playing Test cricket will help me achieve my goal of representing Sri Lanka in the 2012 World T20 and the 2015 World Cup...”

In seven years, the 27-year-old has played as few as 30 Tests.

The well-placed source added: “Even we’re aware of Malinga’s statement, but we have to go by what he tells us, not what he puts out in a communication to the public.”

In his email to SLC, Malinga has stated that he will reach Colombo on Tuesday and meet key officials and the selectors a day later.

“We have to hear Malinga’s stand in person... We have enormous respect for him as a cricketer, but we have been upset with what has happened over the past few days... The country must always come first,” the well-placed source pointed out.

That Malinga continues to play for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL, despite a knee problem, has obviously not gone down well with most (if not all) in SLC.

According to the well-placed source, Malinga may just make himself available for the Test series at home against Australia. That is scheduled soon after the tour of England.

Meanwhile, one learns that Kumar Sangakkara, who stepped down as captain after the World Cup, has agreed to again lead Sri Lanka, strictly in a stand-in capacity, if an “emergency” arises in England.

While chief selector Duleep Mendis and his colleagues have named Tillekaratne Dilshan as Sangakkara’s successor, no vice-captain has been appointed.

“That’s because Angelo Mathews, the obvious choice, is unfit at this point in time... However, if an emergency develops, Sangakkara has promised the chief selector that he will wear the captain’s hat once more,” the well-placed source explained.

Mendis is understood to have had a lengthy one-on-one, over the phone, with Sangakkara. He’s captaining the Deccan Chargers in the IPL.

Dilshan won’t exactly be on trial, but the selectors still want to see how he handles the pressure of a really big series. It will be baptism by fire for the impact-making 34-year-old.

The presence of Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, though, should lessen some of the pressure on Dilshan.

Sri Lanka and England will face each other in three Tests, a solitary T20 International and five ODIs. Before returning home, the Dilshans are also scheduled to play an ODI each against Ireland and Scotland.

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