Lasith Malinga: the weirdest military medium bowler in the world

Lasith Malinga (via ICC video)

2019 Cricket World Cup, Game 27, England v Sri Lanka

The moral of the story is this: if you’re going to bowl at 77mph, do it really weirdly.

Lasith Malinga used to bowl at that particular speed where you’d sometimes call him a fast bowler and sometimes wouldn’t. He was 87-88mph mostly, but he could definitely get over 90mph and 90mph’s the ‘fast’ threshold, isn’t it? Everyone knows that.

That 144.84km/h mark was less meaningful for Malinga though simply because of his bowling action. In the early days it was all anyone could talk about. Cricket fans (Australian, mostly) got really angry about it, while young writers unexpectedly drew thousands of readers writing piss-poor blog posts defending it.

And do you know what? We’re still talking about it now, aren’t we? Do you know why we’re still talking about it? Because it’s mental.

That Lasith Malinga gets his length right is to be expected given how he delivers the ball. The fact that he so often gets his line right is one of the great recurring miracles of cricket.

It is, on the face of it, a side-net-billowing, square-leg-umpire-endangering way to go about things, but it worked in 2004 at 90mph and it works in 2019 at 80mph.

It’ll probably work in 2034 at 60mph.

Lasith Malinga.


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9 Appeals

  1. Did you just sneakily call yourself “young” back in 2012?
    You were not young back in 2012.
    You were merely less old.

    • King Cricket

      June 22, 2019 at 1:07 pm

      It was actually May 2006. It was republished.

      We were younger in 2012.

      We were younger still in 2006.

      Whether we were ‘young’ is of course up for debate. Seems young from our current vantage point though.

  2. Extraordinary scenes in the 2006 King Cricket comments section.

    The most vociferous of those commentators being anonymous.

    But then, most of the commentators were anonymous. Or possibly one commentator wrote very many vociferous comments in a great many various styles.

  3. Anonymous Anonymous said…
    HE IS A UNIQUE BOWLER!!
    HE DUZNT CHEAT OR CHUCK!
    HE IS ONE OF THE BEST BOWLERS DAT ICC HAS WITNESSED THROUGH OUT THE WOLRD CUP!!
    HE DESERVES DA RESPECT FOR GODSAKES….
    PLUS HE IS SOO HOTT!! SEXIEST CRICKETER EVAA!!

    The comments section has improved slightly over the years

    • A proud example of why it’s so sad that comments sections now shut down after a while. The best comments take a few years to mature, like the proverbial fine wine. Then they come out of nowhere and delight you.

  4. I’m struggling to recall a County bowler who turned over his arm in a very unorthodox fashion. Lanky geezer. Medium fast I think. I’m pretty sure I saw him when I was at Lord’s for the Royal London Cup final in 2016. Any thoughts please.

  5. Not wishing to reopen a very old can of worms or anything – but… seen from certain angles… Malinga really REALLY looks as if he’s chucking. (I mean, so much so that I can only assume that nobody bothers to mention it purely because its him, and the whole idea of calling a bowler who’s been around for 200 years already is inherently ridiculous.)

    – And no, that isn’t sour grapes. England had to work bloody hard to throw away that game, and they lost fair and square.

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