Thursday, 29 March 2007

Slinga Malinga: the pacer who has his head on fire

After Muttiah Muralitharan, another maverick from the Sri Lankan stable. Amidst the gloom of Bob Woolmer’s murder, cricket finally hit the headlines for the right reason, as Lasith Malinga scalped four wickets in as many deliveries against South Africa in Guyana.

To be honest, I dislike his action as much as his hairstyle, or the other way round. I happened to see him first in Sri Lanka late last year during a rain-ruined tournament and I still believe he is the game’s second most outrageous hair ever spotted near a cricket ground. For those who came in late, Darrel, the Oz Man in White remains the first in my list.

From a distance, it is seems his head is on fire but somehow the flames are not flickering enough. No wonder, Mahela Jayawardene insists Malinga adds firepower to his pace attack, especially with Chaminda Vaas walking into the sunset of his career.

Malinga’s round-arm action has given sleepless nights to many a batsman. Graeme Smith is not known for his candour but still the Protea southpaw admitted “Malinga was incredible. He made me age a bit."

Back in 2005, Malinga’s low-slung action prompted Stephen Fleming to approach the umpire and request him to change his trousers, for the ball seemed lost in the black backdrop and the Kiwi bat could not spot the ball.

Thankfully, no such requests have been received so far this time. And one thing is sure. This World Cup has seen more distractions and less of cricket and Malinga, despite his weird hairdo, deserves a pat in the back for setting it right.

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