"It gets confusing when people try and take sides. It can happen when some people criticise Malinga for picking IPL over country. That is of all nonsense to me. There is never a stage where Lasith can ever pick IPL over country. Malinga is a dedicated no-nonsense cricketer. He is the toughest no-nense cricketer I have ever met," Sangakkara told NDTV.
"I don''t think there was ever a question Lasith did not want to play Test cricket. He wanted to play in all three formats of the game. Unfortunately for him, his body was not able to stand the rigours of Test cricket. He is a guy who gives everything when on the field. So you can''t question his commitments. He does not think about the next match or the next series. He only thinks about doing well in that particular match," he added.
Malinga, whose sling-arm bowling action and devastating yorkers proved to be a nightmare for batsmen the world over, yesterday announced his retirement from Test cricket because of a "long-standing degenerative" knee injury.
The surprise announcement from Malinga, regarded as the fastest bowler produced by Sri Lanka till date, was being interpreted as a move to put an end to the selection dispute with his cricket establishment which wanted him to return from the IPL for a rehabilitation programme.
Malinga, who had pulled out of Sri Lanka''s upcoming Test tour of England citing fitness woes and is leading the wicket tally for Mumbai Indians in the ongoing IPL, clarified that the condition stops him from playing in the Test format only.
"The injury was a career-threatening injury and my orthopaedic surgeon was of the opinion that given his experience with other professional athletes in Australia I was very fortunate to play again.
"I have since been advised by the national team physiotherapist and my orthopaedic consultant that my condition will deteriorate when fielding or bowling for prolonged periods," the fast bowler had said in a statement.