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June 17, 2019

Pakistan desperately need to dump misfiring Malik


June 17, 2019

MANCHESTER: Pakistan are in a precarious situation having lost three quick wickets in a span of 12 runs as they chase 337 in search of their first World Cup win against chief foes India, writes Khalid Hussain.

In walks the seasoned Shoaib Malik. The former Pakistan captain joins the current skipper Sarfraz Ahmed on the crease at Old Trafford, fully aware of the fact that it’s his make or break moment. Or perhaps his last international appearance for Pakistan.

Having flopped in his previous two World Cup outings, a big knock is due on Malik, who was retained in Pakistan’s playing eleven despite fierce criticism from all quarters. Both Sarfraz and Mickey Arthur, Pakistan’s head coach, were confident that the all-rounder would make full use of his rich experience to lift Pakistan’s cause in the high-pressure game against India.

But Malik does what Malik of the present does best. He departs without troubling the scorers. Unable to deal with an effort ball from Indian medium pacer Hardik Pandya, Malik is dismissed for a golden duck. It was his second successive duck following a similar outing in another big match against Australia in Taunton last Wednesday.

His departure left Pakistan at 129-5 with victory looking highly improbable. A loss against Pakistan would leave Pakistan facing a must-win situation in their last four games in the race for semi-final qualification.

There is a big probability that Pakistan’s trust in the 37-year-old Malik would finally run out with his latest failure. They have erred twice by persisting with him and couldn’t afford any more similar costly mistakes.

This means that Malik might have played his last match in this World Cup. He was supposed to hang up his boots after the ten-nation spectacle which could mean that his disappointing outing against India could be the last of his international career.

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