Twelve years of association to the Mumbai Indians camp, 122 games, 170 wickets, a stunning average of 19.80 and an economy rate of 7.14, everything boils out to January 20, 2021 as Lasith Malinga announces retirement from franchise cricket. The Sri Lankan mainstay announced on Wednesday that after discussing with family he believes it is the ‘right time to retire’.

Only earlier in the day was Lasith Malinga released by Mumbai Indians before the IPL 2021 auctions. According to PTI, Malinga informed his decision to the Mumbai Indians management earlier this month, making himself unavailable for the champion side, MI said in a statement.

The 37-year-old has also been an active part of the Jamaica Tallawahs, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Khulna Tigers, Rangpur Riders and Melbourne Stars among other T20 franchises around the world. His 390 wickets in 295 matches makes him the second highest wicket taker in T20s behind Dwayne Bravo. His last T20 appearance came in March 2020, when he led Sri Lanka against West Indies, and hasn’t played any games during the pandemic.

Malinga retired from Test and ODI cricket but he is yet to call it quits from T20 internationals. Last year, he had expressed his desire to lead Sri Lanka in the T20 World Cup earlier scheduled to be held in Australia in October-November 2020.

“After discussing with family, I think now is the right time to retire from all franchise cricket,” Malinga said in the release as per PTI.

“The pandemic situation and the restrictions on travel will make it difficult for me … to participate fully in franchise cricket for the next year and therefore it is best to make this decision now. I have discussed with Mumbai Indians management in recent days as they prepare for the upcoming auction and they have been very supportive and ununderstanding,” he added.

The 37-year-old pacer, known for his toe-crushing yorkers, thanked the MI owners, the team management and the fans for supporting him in the 12 years that he was with the side.

“Mumbai Indians has treated me like family, supporting me 100 % in every situation both on and off the field, and always giving me the confidence and the freedom to play my natural game whenever I walked onto the field,” he said.

“I have collected so many happy memories that I cherish and I am very grateful to have played for so long for the best franchise in world cricket. I would like to wish Mrs Nita Ambani, coach Mahela (Jayawardene), Akash (Ambani) and the MI family all the best for the upcoming season.” MI said it respects Malinga’s decision and hence he is not part of the club’s 18-member retention squad.

The franchise said it “can continue to lean on his experience in a non-playing capacity in the future.” “Lasith Malinga has been at the core of Mumbai Indians for 12 years. We respect his decision, even though I would have liked to him to be part of our bowling attack for another 5 years,” MI owner Akash Ambani said.

“Malinga is an MI legend. His contributions to Mumbai Indians’ journey are invaluable. We will miss the Wankhede chant for him, but he will always be in the heart of all MI fans.”