Shoaib Malik hopeful to play for Pakistan even longer

Shoaib Malik

Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik is among the few cricketers to have been playing international cricket despite making his debut before the 2000s for Pakistan. Malik played the T20 World Cup 2021 for Pakistan in the middle order and performed well in the few opportunities he got. The veteran was last seen in international action in the T20 internationals against Bangladesh last year and was rested for the West Indies series.

The 40-year-old had a fantastic outing in the PSL 2022 edition recently, where he amassed 401 runs in 11 games at an average of 44.55 and a strike rate of 137.32 to finish as the fourth-highest run-getter. He is still among the swiftest fielders going around and can be very quick between the wickets as well. With the T20 World Cup 2022 edition in Australia this year, Malik’s experience will be very handy for Pakistan.

Thoroughly enjoying my cricket right now: Shoaib Malik

Malik mentioned that he hasn’t affected the team by any means of the age factor and explained the performances he has been putting up with both bat and ball. He added that he is enjoying the game at the moment.

“Despite my age, no one can claim that I am a liability. I have performed at the highest level – especially in the T20 format –and I have shown my worth with the ball, with the bat, and especially in the field. I am thoroughly enjoying my cricket right now because I am utilising all my experience and intensity during the games,” Malik told in an exclusive chat with Cricket Pakistan.

Malik also highlighted the difficulties of batting in the middle overs than opening the batting with the field restrictions in place and believes that his fitness will be key to that aspect. Pakistan skipper Babar Azam is likely to rely on Malik to do the finishing duties alongside Asif Ali.

“I am not claiming that opening is an easy task but in the middle overs, the field restriction is not there. That means you have to rely on running between the wickets a bit more; this is where your fitness truly comes in. You can always improve on fitness but I want to thank God Almighty because for me, it is something that is naturally instilled in me,” he added.

“We do talk on regular basis and we had the conversation about my future plans during the World Cup, I told him that after how everything panned out – I don’t feel like continuing anymore. However, if you ask me personally then of course I still want to represent my country,” Shoaib said.

“I asked Babar to communicate with me, even if that means playing limited series. He told me to play the series against Bangladesh and I did. Following that, we had a series against West Indies and Babar said he wanted to play a couple of youngsters and I stepped aside and rested for that series,” he explained.