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Malinga in Middlesex's sights

George Dobell
February 29, 2012 « Queen to annouce Olympics open | Chartbeat test »
Lasith Malinga could be crushing toes in county cricket this season © AFP
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Middlesex are targeting Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lanka fast bowler, as an overseas player for the Friends Life t20, ESPNcricinfo understands.

Malinga is one of the premier Twenty20 bowlers in the world, known for his trademark slinging yorkers, and would be a crowd-puller for the English tournament which begins on June 12, with Middlesex's first game a London derby against Surrey on June 14.

Malinga has 125 wickets from 95 Twenty20 games, including 38 wickets from 31 internationals. In 2007 he had a brief spell with Kent and helped them to the title when he played on Finals Day. In the semi-final against Sussex he took 3 for 30 and then claimed 1 for 44 in the final against Gloucestershire.

Middlesex have a history of making big-name signings for Twenty20 cricket. In 2010 Adam Gilchrist, with the help of funding from the MCC, joined the club for seven matches and in the same season he was joined by David Warner, although his impact was limited to 268 runs in 13 innings at 20.61.

Middlesex had previously been linked with Chris Gayle but he joined Somerset. Other notable signings for this season's FLt20 include Saeed Ajmal at Worcestershire and Shahid Afridi at Hampshire.

Meanwhile, it is also understood that Middlesex are close to agreeing to loan out Scott Newman, the opening batsman, to Kent for the start of the season. Newman joined from Surrey in 2010 but averaged a disappointing 30.70 during Middlesex's successful County Championship campaign last year, when they won Division Two to secure promotion.

Chris Rogers, the former Australia batsman, is likely to open the batting in the County Championship while Sam Robson, a 22-year-old Australian-born batsman, averaged 59 last season. Middlesex may also have Andrew Strauss available once he returns from the Test series in Sri Lanka, depending on how long he is rested for by the ECB, ahead of England's first home series of the season against West Indies.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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