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Malinga ruled out of first half of IPL

NEW DELHI: Mumbai Indians coach Ricky Ponting feels his side has adequate replacements for premier bowler Lasith Malings, who is virtually ruled out of the first half of the ninth edition of the Indian Premier League.

Ponting lauded Malinga for being one of the best performers in world cricket with the new and old ball and stated he will definitely be missed. “If you look at last season when we were playing our best cricket, Malinga was bowling at his best as well. He’s been one of the great performers in world cricket with the new as well as the old ball. He will be definitely missed, but we have more than adequate replacements if he’s ruled out,” said Ponting.

The former Australian skipper said that Malinga isn’t with the squad now and confirmed that if the side wants to name a replacement, it would have to be before fifth game. “He’s not with the squad now. He’s unlikely to take part in the first half of the tournament. If we want to name a replacement we have to do so before the fifth game,” said Ponting.

Malinga has been nursing a knee injury that prevented him from being fully fit for the Asia Cup as well as the recently concluded ICC World Twenty20 tournament in India.

Ponting also seemed upbeat about Mumbai Indians’ skipper Rohit Sharma and backed him to play exceptionally well in this season. Rohit had a poor form in the WT20.

“Rohit is one of the best players in the world. He has shown it over a long period of time. It’s very hard to maintain top form. You will have ups and downs. I am sure he will play exceptionally well over the next two months.”

Defending champions Mumbai Indians see themselves embroiled in an enticing lung-opener against new IPL side Rising Pune Supergiants on April 9 at the Wankhede.

– PTI
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