Cape Town - Sri Lanka batsman Lahiru Thirimanne has urged experienced paceman Lasith Malinga not to hang up his bowling boots just yet.
Malinga made his farewell ODI appearance on Saturday as Sri Lanka slipped to a seven-wicket defeat against India in the World Cup at Headingley.
The 35-year-old from Galle has enjoyed a glittering international career, bagging 101 wickets in 30 Tests together with 335 wickets in 225 ODI appearances, and Thirimanne is hoping the veteran still has some fuel left in his tank.
“Lasith is a unique player and a very big loss for us,” said Thirimanne.
“I hope he will continue to play T20s. He will be a very big loss to us, though, when he comes to the end of his career.”
Sri Lanka ended a disappointing World Cup campaign by sliding to a fourth defeat, although they were the team most affected by bad weather with two of their nine matches producing no results.
“We haven’t performed well, that’s the main thing,” said Thirimanne after he struck 53 in a fifth-wicket partnership of 124 with centurion Angelo Mathews as Sri Lanka compiled 264/7 after winning the toss and electing to bat first.
“Overall our batting didn’t click. In some of the matches our bowlers didn’t bowl well, so in all three parts we weren’t up to the mark. We have to improve on those three dimensions.”
India eased to their target with 39 balls to spare thanks to 111 from KL Rahul and 103 by the remarkable Rohit Sharma.
Thirimanne said: “Rohit is in great touch. Five centuries in a World Cup is quite spectacular.
“The thing is, he is not hitting big shots first up, and then you see he’s scoring at a run a ball.
"That’s unique. I think he will score more runs in the semis as well.
“England and India have the best chance of winning the World Cup. I hope that India might win the World Cup.”