Sri Lanka allow Lasith Malinga to play in Big Bash semi-final for Melbourne Stars

Big Bash favourites Melbourne Stars are boosted by the news that Lasith Malinga has been released by Sri Lanka for next week's semi-final against the Hobart Hurricanes.

Big Bash favourites Melbourne Stars have been handed a boost with the news that Lasith Malinga has been released by the Sri Lanka Cricket board for next week's semi-final with the Hobart Hurricanes.

Malinga has not played in the Australian T20 event since being recalled by his country because of a fitness concern on January 20.

However, the 30-year-old slinger will now return to the MCG following a special request from the management of the Stars.

Sri Lanka Cricket said in a statement: "Since he had shown a tremendous improvement in his fitness levels in the said training programme, the national coaching staff together with the national selectors took the decision to release him to play in the Big Bash."

Malinga, who has taken 18 wickets in 12 games during his Big Bash career, will replace fellow overseas player Mohammad Hafeez for the clash with Hobart.

It is uncertain whether Malinga will be allowed to feature in the final should the Stars progress.

Umar Gul of Pakistan celebrates after dismissing Sri Lanka's batsman Kumar Sangakkra during the third one day international (ODI) cricket match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at The Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah, on December 22, 2013
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