New Delhi: Tournament's leading wicket-taker Lasith Malinga has been ruled out of the Indian Premier League season nine on Sunday.
The Sri Lankan fast bowler has been struggling to recuperate from a niggling knee injury which forced him out of the recently concluded Asia Cup T20 and ICC World Twenty20 tournaments.
According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, the Mumbai Indians' medical team deemed him unfit for at least another four months.
The fast bowler returned to Sri Lanka after undergoing medical tests in Mumbai, and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) doctors will now assess Malinga to determine whether surgery is required, the report added.
"Mr. Malinga will present himself before the SLC panel of expert doctors on Wednesday (April 20) and depending on the outcome of the said medical examinations, be required to face a match fitness grading, after which SLC will take the next appropriate steps," a release from the board said.
But the 32-year-old joined the IPL franchise camp on Friday, ostensibly without SLC's medical clearance.
However, Mumbai Indians are yet to make a statement either on Malinga's injury or about a replacement.
Malinga joined the Mumbai-based franchise in 2008 and has taken 143 wickets in 98 matches to become the leading wicket taker of the T20 tournament.
The bone bruise to his left knee is also expected to keep Malinga out of Sri Lanka's forthcoming tour of England, as well as the Caribbean Premier League.
In fact, early today, the Lankan board had issued a show cause notice to their former captain regarding the same.
It's also widely reported that Malinga and the new SLC hierarchy have been at a standoff since the Asia Cup in February.
The Board administration had asked Malinga to step down as the captain of the team before the World T20 last month in obvious annoyance.
Although Malinga made it to Sri Lanka World T20 squad as a player, he once again opted out of the crucial tournament, citing fitness issues.