Veteran Sri Lanka pacer Lasith Malinga took his 99th Twenty-20 International wicket to become the highest wicket-taker in the shortest format of the game. He achieved the feat against New Zealand in the first T20I against New Zealand at the Pallekele Stadium, on Sunday.
With Malinga topping the chart of highest international wicket-taker in T20 cricket, the record for the most number of international wickets in all three formats of the game has now been taken by Sri Lanka cricketers. Former spinner Muttiah Muralitharan holds the feat of taking the highest number of wickets in One Day Internationals and Test cricket with 534 and 800 wickets respectively.
Malinga, who took Colin Munro and Colin de Grandhomme yesterday surpassed former Pakistani all-rounder Shaheed Afridi’s record of 98 wickets. Bangladeshi all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan with 88 wickets is third in the list. The 36-year-old fast bowler, who has retired from ODI and Test cricket, has hinted no intention to retire from the short format of the game. Thus, Malinga is all set to become the first cricketer to take 100 T20I wickets.
Muralitharan has led the chart of most number of wickets on ODI since 2009 after surpassing Wasim Akram’s tally of 502 wickets. The former off-spinner is slated to stay at the top in the upcoming years as well as no active cricketer is there among the top five ODI wicket-takers of all time. With Muralitharan and Akram taking the first two spots, Waqar Younis, Chaminda Vaas and Afridi complete the list of top five wickets takers in 50 overs format. Bangladesh’s Mashrafe Mortaza with 266 scalps to his name is the highest ODI wicket-taker among the active cricketers.
The old fox also leads the chart in the longest format of the game with his record 800 Test wickets. He is expected to hold this position, too, as James Anderson with 575 wickets is the only active cricketer in the top-five. But given that the English bowler is at the twilight of his career, Murali’s record seems untouchable at least for the next four-five years. Also, he is only the second bowler to simultaneously hold the top position in two highest-wicket taker’s chart. The last cricketer to achieve such distinction was former Indian captain Kapil Dev.