Zaheer Khan lauds Shoaib Malik for his knock against New Zealand

Former Indian cricketer Zaheer Khan said that Shoaib Malik has been able to justify his place in the Pakistan team in the T20 World Cup 2021. The latter scored 26 off 20 against New Zealand on Tuesday at the Sharjah Cricket Ground and guided his team through to a five-wicket win.

Malik came to bat at a stage when the Men in Green lost three wickets, including their in-form opener Babar Azam. Soon after, Mohammad Rizwan also perished with Pakistan still needing 66 runs off 50 balls. From there on, Malik put his head down and took Pakistan to victory.

Malik wasn’t initially picked in the squad and he came in as a last-minute replacement of an injured Sohaib Maqsood. Zaheer said that Malik showed patience under pressure and brought all his experience to the fore.

Patience is the most important thing, says Zaheer Khan

“Fans often ask why senior players like Shoaib Malik are still playing. They are here for this reason only. They know how to absorb pressure in situations like these. They will not be impatient, and in pressure situations, patience is the most important thing. I think Shoaib Malik was a last-minute addition to the squad. He proved the selectors right today,” Zaheer told Cricbuzz.

Zaheer also had words of praise for Babar, who has now led Pakistan to back-to-back wins in the Super 12s of the T20 World Cup 2021.

“Babar Azam is calm and composed. In the past, we used to say Pakistan is an unpredictable team, but I think Babar is showing a new direction to Pakistan cricket now,” he stated.

Zaheer was also of the opinion that the Black Caps missed the services of Lockie Ferguson in the death overs. He lauded Tim Southee but said that Ferguson has more ammunition up his sleeves to succeed in the death overs.

“Southee conceded two sixes in the death overs, but he bowled really well in the powerplay. You can say in hindsight that New Zealand missed Ferguson, but you cannot deny that he is the better bowler when it comes to bowling in the final overs. He has the Yorker and has more pace than Southee,” Zaheer added.