Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik on Monday announced that he will retire from one-day cricket after the next year’s World Cup in the UK. However, he will continue to play the T20 format subject to his fitness and performances.
Malik, who debuted for Pakistan in 1999 in an ODI against West Indies at Sharjah, made reporters aware of his decision during a press conference at Lahore ahead of Pakistan’s tour of Zimbabwe for a tri-nation T20 series (against the hosts and Australia) and a five-match ODI series against Zimbabwe.
“The 2019 World Cup is my last event of the 50-over cricket,” Malik said. “I will try to play T20 cricket if I continue to stay fit and put up performances.”
Malik has scored 6975 runs at an average of 35.22 with the help of nine 100s and 41 fifties and has taken 154 wickets at 38.65 runs per wicket. After Pakistan were knocked out of the 2007 World Cup following their defeats against hosts West Indies and Ireland, Malik was handed the reins of the side. He captained Pakistan in 56 matches across all formats, winning 36 and losing 18.
“If you have made goals for yourself that keeps you running,” said Malik. “I have made some for myself. We have already won two big events: the World T20 [in 2009] and the Champions Trophy [in 2017]. The only thing left in my career [to win] is that 50-over World Cup. That is the thing I am looking at which makes me work hard. I have big hopes from these youngsters and myself. We are going to give our best.”
Malik retired from Test cricket in 2015 after scoring his career-best 245 against England at Sharjah. When asked whether he missed Test cricket, he replied: “You enjoy Test cricket till the time you are fit. Sometimes you have to take strong decisions. Many people take them keeping their future in mind. But, I tried to take it keeping the future of Pakistan cricket in my mind.
“Of course, I also thought about myself while announcing the retirement. I had to give time to my family and prolong my cricketing career. I have no regret that I made that decision. It came out in public like I took it overnight. That gap of five years in which I did not play a Test was a huge one. And, my retirement provided two-three youngsters an opportunity to play Test cricket. Now they are performing for the side on consistent basis. One can also serve your nation by retiring.”
Pakistan go into the T20I triangular series against Zimbabwe and Australia, which commences from July 1, as the top-ranked side. And since Sarfraz Ahmed took captaincy in the shorter format after Pakistan’s abysmal 2016 World T20 campaign in India, they are yet to lose a T20I series.
“Pakistan has put up performances on consistent basis in the recent past which we previously lacked,” said the 36-year-old. “People now have hopes from us to win big events. This is a good sign. This represents that our team and structure are on the right track. These youngsters are great. What really is outstanding that those outside of the playing XI pray for the ones who are playing. It is a great keeping our culture in mind.
“You learn from playing a match, regardless of its nature or your experience. Even in a club match you learn the things that you normally don’t during practice. The team has gotten better in the shorter format because it is playing more and more matches.”
Pakistan’s two-day training camp for the Zimbabwe tour begins from tomorrow (June 26). The team will fly to the African country on Thursday.
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