Game over for Malik?

June 30, 2019

One of the only two cricketers from the 1990s currently playing, Shoaib Malik has failed to justify his inclusion in the squad for the World Cup. He is most likely never to play again for Pakistan

Game over for Malik?

After the Cricket World Cup 2019, many players are expected to hang their boots. Among them are MS Dhoni, Lasith Malinga, Chris Gayle, Ross Taylor, Dale Steyn and Hashim Amla.

Pakistan former captain Shoaib Malik has also announced that this World Cup will be his last ODI tournament, but he will continue to play T20Is and professional leagues. Malik is one of the only two cricketers currently playing who started their careers in ‘90s. The other is West Indies’ Chris Gayle.

Malik has played three matches in the ongoing World Cup: against England, Australia and India, and managed 8, 0 and 0, respectively.

Malik said last year: "We have won two big events: the World T20 in 2009 and the Champions Trophy in 2017. The only major title that I have not won in my career is the 50-overs World Cup."

Despite his poor form in recent years, the team management was confident that Malik with his vast experience would be handy for the team, but he has failed to live up to the expectations.

Malik made his ODI debut as an off-spinner on October 14, 1999, in a Champions Trophy match against West Indies. He didn’t bat as his name was on the 10th position. He took two wickets for 23 runs in eight overs.

In 20 years, Malik has played 287 ODIs, scored 7534 runs, averaging 34.55 with nine centuries and 44 fifties.

He is a fine batsman of spin bowling, but his average is surprisingly low against fast bowlers.

At home, Malik played only 65 ODIs, scored 2199 runs, averaging 44.87 with four hundreds and 14 fifties. His best performances have come against India. He played 42 matches against the arch-rivals, scored 1782 runs, at an average of 46.89. He scored four centuries and 11 fifties against India. His best ODI score, 143, also came against India.

But against Australia, England and New Zealand on their soil, his average is 30.78, 13.07 and 10.44, respectively.

He is the only player who has batted from the first position to the 10th. In his first three matches, he was at 10th position, but after showing his batting skills, he got a promotion.

In 147 ODIs, he has batted on the fifth and the sixth positions. But his best average came when he batted third -- 2594 runs, averaging over 40.

The worst year of his career was 2011 in which he scored only 35 runs in eight ODIs, averaging just 5.83. This year also hasn’t been memorable for Malik as he scored just 250 runs in 13 matches, averaging 20.83.

Since the beginning of 2018, Malik has played 30 ODIs, he has scored 608 runs, with just three fifties.

Malik’s career hasn’t been clear of controversies. During the tour of Australia in 2010, a video showed discord between senior members of the side. PCB banned Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf for an indefinite period, and handed out one-year bans to Malik and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan.

Later, Malik’s appeal against the punishment was "partially accepted" by an independent arbitration tribunal, overturning his one-year ban and halving his fine.

Malik has been accused by teammates and coaches of being a negative influence on the team. He has even been called "termite".

Intikhab Alam told an investigating committee: "Malik was a negative person and he creates problems. I wanted him to be sent back home. Malik had initially agreed to bat at No.3 but shied away during the tour of New Zealand, which preceded the Australia series."

Muhammad Yousuf, who was the captain during the Australia tour of 2009-10, told the committee: "Malik played politics all the time."

Malik responded by saying: "I went out during water break in the Sydney Test on the final day and told him to attack Mike Hussey but he didn’t listen. His captaincy in Australia was pathetic, he has no confidence to take decisions."

Shahid Afridi said: "I told him (Malik) clearly that if he continued this practice of his double standards he would not survive in the team for too long and I would not have him in the team if I was made the captain," Afridi said.

Malik’s selection for the current World Cup raised many questions, mainly due to his poor performance with the bat and the ball, but he dismissed the criticism. He said: "I don’t follow Pakistani media, so what it says about me I don’t care. The big thing is that it is my last World Cup and I am in the team and I will try my best to give my best for the team as I always played for my team, not for myself."

Interestingly, Malik has played only six World Cup matches in his 20-year career, and scored 100 runs with a low average of 16.66.

Malik’s performance remains under par in the major ICC tournaments. He averages 16.66 and 23.75, in World Cup and Champions Trophy, respectively.

Malik led Pakistan in 41 ODIs. As the captain he batted with more responsibility, averaging 42.43.

Malik played 35 Test matches for Pakistan, scored 1898 runs with three centuries and eight half-centuries, averaging 35.14. He took 32 wickets at an average of 47.46. He retired from Test cricket in 2015 after scoring his career-best 245 against England at Sharjah.

Malik scored 2263 runs in 111 T20Is, averaging 30.58, including seven fifties. He also took 28 wickets, averaging 23.


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Game over for Malik?