Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - SPORTS - -REUTERS

La­sith Malinga’s on­ce­ex­press pace has dropped as Fa­ther Time has caught up with the right-arm quick, but his guile should pro­pel him to a few in­di­vid­ual mile­stones at his fourth and fi­nal Cricket World Cup.

Malinga, who turns 36 in Au­gust, is on the cusp of break­ing into the all-time top10 one-day in­ter­na­tional wicket tak­ers, with his tally of 322 just one be­hind for­mer team mate Sanath Jaya­suriya.

Mut­tiah Mu­ralitha­ran heads the list with 534 wick­ets.

Malinga has also taken three ODI hat-tricks and is the only player to have achieved the mile­stone twice dur­ing a World Cup. His first World Cup hat-trick was when he dis­missed four South African bats­men in four balls in Guyana in 2007 -- the only player to have achieved that feat in the tour­na­ment.

He then took an­other hat-trick against Kenya four years later

I know I’ve got the skills to take wick­ets and (that) gives me con­fi­dence. One of the things I like about play­ing in England is you have to adapt to ev­ery con­di­tion

in Colombo and while he said it would be nice to add a third in England and Wales, he was just keen on tak­ing wick­ets when Sri Lanka start their cam­paign against New Zealand in Cardiff on June 1. “I know I’ve got the skills to take wick­ets and (that) gives me con­fi­dence,” Malinga told the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil web­site. “One of the things I like about play­ing in England is you have to adapt to ev­ery con­di­tion.

“It could be re­ally hot or quite cold and that is a real test of your skill as a bowler.

“Why can’t I get an­other hat-trick? I will be try­ing and that would be spe­cial.” Malinga has al­ready said that his fourth Cricket World Cup will be his last, with him tar­get­ing an in­ter­na­tional re­tire­ment af­ter the World Twenty20 tour­na­ment in Aus­tralia next year.

He will how­ever still an­chor the pace at­tack with his abil­ity to bowl fast swing­ing york­ers and well-directed bouncer and dis­guise changes in pace.

The 1996 cham­pi­ons have strug­gled in the 50-over for­mat this year, hav­ing lost eight of their nine com­pleted matches, with their only vic­tory against Scot­land in Ed­in­burgh.

Malinga, how­ever, felt the side could sur­prise op­po­si­tion teams in the round-robin for­mat.

“In pre­vi­ous years per­haps we had big­ger names but th­ese guys are very tal­ented and they are look­ing for­ward to prov­ing them­selves and mak­ing peo­ple no­tice them,” he said.

“We have the best 15 play­ers in Sri Lanka right now and we have a mix of more ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers and some ex­cit­ing young play­ers, who just can’t wait to get started.”

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