Lasith Malinga has emphasised his decision to back out of the inaugural Lanka Premier League (LPL) is due to the lack of preparation before the tournament.
Malinga was initially picked as a local marquee signing for Galle Gladiators but has decided not to participate in the competition because of a severe shortage of match practice.
The veteran fast bowler has not played a competitive game since the Covid-19 outbreak as he had also pulled out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the UAE owing to personal reasons. Malinga was then replaced by James Pattinson by the eventual winners Mumbai Indians.
The move to forgo his maiden LPL stint has prompted criticism from some fans back in Sri Lanka but Malinga is adamant that he has skipped the league to avoid being lambasted for poor performances later.
He focused on the methodical rigour involved in executing the yorker delivery he is most famous for and bemoaned the absence of that practice leading up to the LPL.
“I wish the LPL all the success. Some will wonder why the lack of preparation is a problem for someone who has played so much cricket," Malinga told newswire.lk.
"You can’t do this by just preparing in your gym at home. Before I bowl a yorker in a match, I practice bowling that delivery about a thousand times. It is not something that happens by accident,” he elaborated.
IPL's all-time leading wicket-taker Malinga was quick to point out that he would have faced demeaning comments had he been unable to bowl yorkers successfully in the LPL.
Sri Lanka's T20 skipper, nevertheless, took heart from the fact that he has been one of the standout performers for his country over an extended period of time.
"No matter what you achieve, sometimes you have to take the criticism too. The world knows what I have done for my country. The people who love me know it too. That is enough for me," he said.
Malinga was in line to become the Gladiators' captain following Sarfaraz Ahmed's unavailability as the wicketkeeper was selected for Pakistan's tour to New Zealand.
The leadership responsibilities for the LPL franchise have now been handed to Shahid Afridi with Bhanuka Rajapaksa appointed vice-captain.
Galle Gladiators will begin their tournament campaign on Friday with the clash against Jaffna Stallions.