Sri Lanka pace bowling legend Lasith Malinga believes he can sharpen Bangladesh left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman when the two individuals meet at the Mumbai Indians camp in the Indian Premier League T20 2018.
Malinga, based on his domestic and international success, was appointed as the bowling mentor of Mumbai, a side coached by another Sri Lanka great Mahela Jayawardene.
Mustafizur made a sensational start to his international career, taking 13 wickets in three ODIs at home, against India in 2015. The pacer, mixing his variations, which include slower and cutter deliveries, had registered three five-fors in his first nine ODIs. Till date, the youngster has appeared in 10 Test matches, 27 ODIs and 21 T20Is for Bangladesh but has not been able to live upto expectation, which was created following his sensational start.
"It is a different role there (as a bowling mentor) but given the 14-15 years of international experience I have, I do know the situation and the skill a bowler needs to handle that situation. I can put my experience into helping the bowlers come out from a situation. They are also good players but still sometimes they can get into pressure and I can explain what kind of field they need. And what to do to improve the skill. Then Mustafizur is also there (in Mumbai) and I want to really help him," said Malinga to Dhaka Tribune in the sideline of his 50-over game for Nondescripts Cricket Club at the Colombo Cricket Club ground Wednesday.
Right-arm pacer Malinga, who with 17 wickets in eight innings finished as the highest wicket-taker in the domestic T20 tournament in Sri Lanka, said Mustafizur might have confused his skill and is trying a bit too much when he is in the middle. The 34-year-old believes he will be able to improve Mustafizur in the IPL.
"He (Mustafizur) was really good when he had first arrived in international cricket but people now are expecting more than that. I think he has confused his skill and trying too much to do in the field. He has got a very good variation but I think he is not going for his game plan. He needs to focus on his game plan. He has got three or four variations but he needs to think of how to make use of that variation. I think at this point he is a bit aggressive and trying a bit too much. I think I can sharpen that for him," said Malinga.
Mustafizur is set to appear in his third IPL season, and the first for Mumbai, when the tournament starts next month. The Bangladesh pacer had played for Sunrisers Hyderabad in his first two IPL seasons, and was key behind their title success in 2016.