Shoaib Malik, a mainstay of Pakistan cricket, has had a profitable outing at the ICC T20 World Cup here, but he was disappointed when he learned in the West Indies that he had not been selected for the event, and he feared it was the end of the road for him.
After top-order batter Sohaib Maqsood was ruled out due to a back ailment, things took an unexpected turn as the veteran cricketer was included in Pakistan’s team. Malik, by chance, has played a crucial role in the 2009 World T20 champions reaching the quarterfinals, and he hopes to continue his strong form against Australia on November 11.
The defining moment at the T20 World Cup came when he hit an unbeaten 20-ball 26 against New Zealand, guiding Pakistan to a narrow win which laid the platform for their dominance in Group 2 of the ‘Super 12’ stage. Malik also struck an unbeaten 54 against Scotland in their last ‘Super 12’ engagement, indicating he is in good form for the semifinal clash.
The 39-year-old’s inclusion in the squad was on the basis of his domestic form where he scored 225 runs in seven games in the National Twenty20 tournament. Having quit Test cricket in 2015 and ODIs in 2017, Malik had said that he would like to end his career after the T20 World Cup if selected.
“I was playing in the Caribbean Premier League when they (Pakistan Cricket Board) announced the first team, and my name was not there. Of course, I felt bad. I was very disappointed. But I’ve seen a lot of the teams where my name was not there, so of course when you’re not part of the World Cup team, then it hurts,” said Malik on Sunday evening.
“But as a professional cricketer or as a professional athlete your goal is to talk to yourself and somehow come out from that frustration, so I had the opportunity because I was playing in the Caribbean Premier League, and then I’ve come back, I played a domestic tournament because I still enjoy going to the ground, and that’s what keeps me going,” said Malik after the emphatic win over Scotland.
Malik dodged the topic of how long he plans to play by stating that the team was in the middle of a crucial mission.
“I’m not sure if I want to play another year or two. I’m in the middle of something incredibly important right now, so I’m not thinking about it. The mood in the dressing room is generally pleasant, and all we need to do now is keep giving it our all.”
(With IANS inputs)