Defending champions Mumbai Indians on Wednesday released Sri Lankan pacer and Indian Premier League's highest wicket-taker Lasith Malinga ahead of the upcoming season.
Malinga, who has played a staggering 122 IPL matches, has 170 wickets to his credit, the highest in the cash-rich league, with the best bowling figures of 5/13.
"MI have released seven names which include Sri Lankan great Lasith Malinga, Kiwi quick Mitchell McClenaghan, Australians Nathan Coulter-Nile and James Pattinson, Guyanese Sherfane Rutherford, uncapped leg-spinner Prince Balwant Rai and fast bowler Digvijay Deshmukh from the team," the franchise said in a statement.
In the 2020 edition of the IPL, Mumbai Indians had roped in Australian speedster James Pattinson as a replacement for Malinga, who had expressed his unavailability owing to personal reasons.
MI also decided to retain the core of the team, including skipper Rohit Sharma, wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, star pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult, and all-rounders Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya.
The five-time champions now have 18 players in their squad, with seven spots open which can be filled in the mini-auction.
The franchise said "it can pick as many as four overseas players for the next season."
Players Retained: Batsmen: Rohit Sharma, Quinton De Kock (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan (wk), Chris Lynn, Anmolpreet Singh, Saurabh Tiwary, Aditya Tare (wk).
Bowlers: Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult, Rahul Chahar, Jayant Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mohsin Khan.
All-rounders: Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Anukul Roy.
Released: Lasith Malinga, Mitch McClenaghan, James Pattinson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Sherfane Rutherford, Prince Balwant Rai, Digvijay Deshmukh.