Sharjah, Nov 8 (IANS) It has been a fruitful outing for Pakistan cricketing stalwart Shoaib Malik at the ICC T20 World Cup here, but when he first got the news in the West Indies that he had not been selected for the tournament, he was dejected, and thought perhaps it was the end of the road for him.
However, things took an unlikely turn and the veteran cricketer was included in Pakistan’s squad after top-order batter Sohaib Maqsood was ruled out due to a back problem. As luck would have it, Malik has played a key role in the 2009 World T20 champions making it to the semifinals, and is hoping to take his good form into the game 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 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 left the question on how long he plans to continue playing open, saying that the team was in the middle of an important assignment.
“I’m not sure about playing a year more or two more years. Right now I’m middle of a very important thing and not thinking about all that. Overall in the dressing room, the atmosphere is really nice, and it’s just that we need to keep giving our best shot.”