Sri Lanka, the defending champions of World T20, started off their campaign with a hard-fought victory over Afghanistan last night (March 17). They were without their leading fast bowler Malinga for the match.
Today (March 18), Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) announced that the speedster will return home as he has not recovered from his injury.
"Sri Lankan Fast Bowler Lasith Malinga, who joined the Sri Lanka team in India this past week, will be returning to Sri Lanka today," SLC said in a media release on Friday.
"Sri Lanka Team management on tour have observed that Malinga who's niggling injury has been flaring up would be better off resting it, and have recommended he return to Colombo," it added.
A suitable replacement will be named, SLC said. "Meanwhile, the practice T20 matches for the remaining players from the WT20 pool will get underway at the R. Premadasa International Stadium this evening, and the Selectors are expected to pick a suitable replacement for Malinga, to join the team."
Before the start of the tournament, Malinga was named as the captain of the team. However, due to his injury, he stepped down and was replaced by Angelo Mathews. Malinga had led Sri Lanka to World T20 title in 2014.
Ahead of their opening match, Mathews had said he was not sure when Malinga would be back playing. "We are yet to get yes or no from physio. He will have net session tomorrow. We will test his bowling tomorrow and will wait.
"He bowled a couple of overs with short run-up. He will bowl with full run-up tomorrow and we will take a call," Mathews had said on Wednesday (March 16).