Sri Lanka pace bowler Lasith Malinga, the top wicket taker of the Indian Premier League (IPL), has retired from franchise cricket that is why he was not retained by the Mumbai Indians (MI) for the 2021 season, the franchise said in a statement.Malinga, 37, had been with MI for 12 years, right from the first IPL season in 2008. He is the highest wicket-taker in the history of the league with 170 wickets from 122 matches at an economy rate of 7.14. The right-arm bowler blamed the Covid pandemic and the travel restrictions that come with it as the reason for quitting franchise cricket."...Lasith Malinga has decided to retire from franchise cricket. The Sri Lankan speedster informed his decision to the Mumbai Indians management earlier this month, making himself unavailable for the champion side's retention wish list," said a statement from MI."Mumbai Indians management respects Lasith Malinga's decision and hence he is not part of the club's 18-member retention squad announced today," it said.Malinga, who has an unconventional bowling action, said: "After discussing with family, I think now is the right time to retire from all franchise cricket. The pandemic situation and the restrictions on travel will make it difficult for me given my personal circumstances to participate fully in franchise cricket for the next year and therefore it is best to make this decision now."I have discussed the same with Mumbai Indians management in recent days as they prepare for the upcoming auction and they have been very supportive and understanding. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Ambani family, everyone at the Mumbai Indians franchise and all our fans for the wonderful 12 years."