March 24, 2014

The Shoaib Malik question

No one can give a satisfactory answer about why he's in the side and what has happened to his supposed utility. Maybe the answer has to do with his captaincy stint
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Shoaib Malik is a battle-scarred fixture in the Pakistan side, but who knows why?
Shoaib Malik is a battle-scarred fixture in the Pakistan side, but who knows why? © AFP

What has happened to Shoaib Malik? The world has more pressing mysteries to resolve but if a couple of idling hours present themselves, here is a lighter excursion to consider.

Let's qualify that question a little. It's not that I think Malik would have ended up as one of Pakistan's greatest players, but neither did I ever think he would end up as he is right now. And what he is right now, well, I have no idea: even in a career stretched to its very limits by the idea of his elastic utility, it's difficult to know what he is doing in the side now and why he's there.

Nobody seems to have a real answer to why. I'm not sure whether Mohammad Hafeez has been specifically asked the question, but I'm certain he'd say something unprofessorial about Malik bringing a lot of experience. To which would be asked, of what? Five Champions Trophies, one World Cup and four World T20s of not really doing much?

Ordinarily the selectors should be the best people to ask, except, for about a year now, Pakistan have operated without a selection committee. Okay, so there has been one but rubber stamps have had more traction, and if Azhar Khan claims to head it, in terms of power wielded he is somewhere below what Viktor Yanukovych now claims over Ukraine and Ban Ki-Moon does over our united nations. (One of the good things about the incoming selection chief, Rashid Latif, and Moin Khan as coach - if he is kept on - is that Pakistan's captains will be challenged a little more about their selections; the flipside is, hello, how long do those arrangements last?)

If asked they might point to numbers Malik has accrued in domestic T20 tournaments and leagues as reasons. In which case they would only be pointing out their own incompetence, or dereliction of duties. In the last two T20 tournaments in Pakistan, Malik has masked mostly ordinary work with a couple of decent scores across 11 matches. Sandwiched in between was what should have been the clincher in any discussion about his prospects: a truly abysmal Big Bash League for Hobart Hurricanes. If that is the crutch Pakistan fall back on in picking him, it's a truly splintered one.

There's no doubt that Malik has always carried the unmistakable air of a man who isn't what he is on the outside. But how much during his captaincy was it him and how much was he made to be like that, encircled as he was by older vultures like Mohammad Yousuf?

What else could it be? Every recent selection of his has been accompanied by talk of the political sway he harnesses, as if it were black magic or voodoo shrouding the team. Could it be for his reputation as a feared India-slayer, which, come to think of it, is a similar kind of hokum? Personally I like to think that behind his recent selections, something more prosaic has been at work. Each time the captain has seen an opportunity to forge a weird, anticipatory unity, not in strength but in mediocrity: "I'll pick you despite you not deserving it, if you pick me later when you're me and I'm you." It could be any of these or none, or all.

But if we'll never get to the bottom of why, we should ask again what: what has happened to him so that he is now merely flotsam in Pakistan's big-tournament squads? And the thing that keeps coming to mind over and over again is his 21-month captaincy between 2007 and 2009. He hasn't been the same since he was removed in January 2009, after an ODI series loss to Sri Lanka, but really because he was said, by his own manager and coach, to be a "loner" and "aloof" (no prizes for knowing that the omnipotent Buddha, Intikhab Alam, was involved in this).

I always wondered about that description. Bob Woolmer wasn't a bad judge of a cricketer. Was he that wrong about Malik, whom he always identified as a potential captain? There's no doubt that Malik has always carried the unmistakable air of a man who isn't what he is on the outside. He clutches on to whatever may be inside him so staunchly, there is no hope in knowing what or who he really is. But how much during his captaincy was it him and how much was he made to be like that, encircled as he was by older vultures like Mohammad Yousuf, who could never digest having been overlooked for the captaincy? The one time Malik unloaded on Shoaib Akhtar's fitness and commitment on the field, he was forced to u-turn two days later. A few days after that he was removed. He has rarely spoken about that time, which is strange given that, at 27, it effectively killed his career.

Meanwhile, away from the limelight, in the smaller, fairly stable pond of Sialkot, Malik has continued to lead. That experience is like an alternate reality, of what is happening in a world where Malik is still captain, where his position in the batting order is secure and fixed. He is the big fish here, a leader of men around him. The level, of course, is much lower, but it is telling that he looks like a different man when leading Sialkot. In that light, the mind sometimes wanders down a road where Malik wasn't removed as captain and imagines what it might have done to him as player.

Soon after he was removed as captain he was called to a senate committee hearing in Islamabad, where the team management's assessment of him were first made public. He sat impassively through the day as his coach and manager said their pieces and senators grilled him. He explained why Pakistan had lost the ODI series to Sri Lanka with clear-headedness, before adding that he had jumped before he was pushed. "I am one of the most flexible players in the Pakistan side and have batted everywhere. I want to get better as a player now." Irony doesn't begin to get that.

But it was as he hung around before the meeting started, with a group of journalists, that he uttered the most revealing truth. We asked him generally how he was now that he was no longer captain.

"Ab sukoon hai," he smiled back, as if emerging from a coma. He is at peace now, he meant.

That left unsaid what sometimes needs to be spelt out: that taking up the Pakistan captaincy is essentially going to war. It scrambles the minds of most men, to say nothing of what it does to their games. Maybe what he has been suffering from since then is some strain of a post-traumatic affliction.

Osman Samiuddin is a sportswriter at the National

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • isaeed25 on March 29, 2014, 5:48 GMT

    I alway believe that Malik was one of the best talent Pakistan has pruduced.He still by far the best player in current pakistan team .Malik is a prime example of that how pcb waste the player talent not utilising them right .Malik is a match winner ,pcb and capton should use him right. and if they dont know how to use him right ask MS Dhoni .Best of luck malik ,I know you will come back strongly.

  • on March 29, 2014, 3:36 GMT

    Malik deserve 3 or 4 more years in Pakistan cricket he is very nice player that he already proved many times in the past. In other words for some reason Pakistani Captains not using him properly. In last 3 years he is most affect player he always playing in too much tension whether in next match he will be in the side or not and check out almost he is coming to bat in a situation where he can do much only to play some slog shots to increase the run rate.

    We should have mix of players 6 new + 5 seniors and he should be part of seniors along with Afridi, Hafeez, Kamran, Gul and Malik and bring 6 new players.

  • kamilkhuwaja on March 27, 2014, 18:30 GMT

    To me Malik is still capable of batting at number 3 in ODIs and T20s. He desperately needs to get his right position to bat on. Don't forget that he used to be a match winner for Pakistan during Inzi's captaincy.

  • papay65 on March 27, 2014, 13:17 GMT

    Can't bat can't bowl as one commentator said in the last tournament he played, he's our 'specialist fielder'. If he had a shred of shame he would retire from international cricket, anybody else in the current squad batter or bowler would add to the team, he's useless. We've gotten rid of Farhat but still can't shake the cancer that is Malik and Akmal Sr; until these 2 are removed they will constantly bring us down.

  • on March 27, 2014, 4:54 GMT

    its pretty simple.. Pakistan lacks an experienced player ( Indian for e.g. has Dhoni) who can come in late in the innings to guide a chase. It is unfortunate that we have vested so much time with Malik that we now feel obliged to ' make use of his experience ' and force his selection. Fact of the matter is Pakistan lacks options. Kamran Akmal is the player who fits this requirement, who can come down the order and we can use another opener like Sharjeel or Nasir jamshed ... clearly this is not a great option either.

  • on March 27, 2014, 0:24 GMT

    To be honest ,Muhammad Hafeez should also be dropped.What has he done ?His average is like 20.And for SM he should totally be dropped.

    Imran nazir deserves a chance again..

  • on March 26, 2014, 12:46 GMT

    why isn't raza hassan in he squad?

  • on March 26, 2014, 12:00 GMT

    except the similarity with Mohammad Yousuf all is true..... Management should add Sharjeel Khan to strengthen the batting or add any bowler to strengthen bowling.... he is totally misfit in the squad...

  • on March 26, 2014, 5:12 GMT

    all of you sporting malik you don't know pakistan have lots of player better than him can you see he play 22 matches last 4 world cup make only 416 average 19 please bring some good for pakistan future

  • on March 25, 2014, 23:32 GMT

    I truly agree Sharjeel does not deserve a spot. He played at the most flat pitches and yet to give performance. He needs to be dropped. Nasir Jamshed needs to be given regular spot. The guy single handedly won the series against india. Yes he didn't perform on difficult tracks but look at india persisting with Shikar Dhawan

  • isaeed25 on March 29, 2014, 5:48 GMT

    I alway believe that Malik was one of the best talent Pakistan has pruduced.He still by far the best player in current pakistan team .Malik is a prime example of that how pcb waste the player talent not utilising them right .Malik is a match winner ,pcb and capton should use him right. and if they dont know how to use him right ask MS Dhoni .Best of luck malik ,I know you will come back strongly.

  • on March 29, 2014, 3:36 GMT

    Malik deserve 3 or 4 more years in Pakistan cricket he is very nice player that he already proved many times in the past. In other words for some reason Pakistani Captains not using him properly. In last 3 years he is most affect player he always playing in too much tension whether in next match he will be in the side or not and check out almost he is coming to bat in a situation where he can do much only to play some slog shots to increase the run rate.

    We should have mix of players 6 new + 5 seniors and he should be part of seniors along with Afridi, Hafeez, Kamran, Gul and Malik and bring 6 new players.

  • kamilkhuwaja on March 27, 2014, 18:30 GMT

    To me Malik is still capable of batting at number 3 in ODIs and T20s. He desperately needs to get his right position to bat on. Don't forget that he used to be a match winner for Pakistan during Inzi's captaincy.

  • papay65 on March 27, 2014, 13:17 GMT

    Can't bat can't bowl as one commentator said in the last tournament he played, he's our 'specialist fielder'. If he had a shred of shame he would retire from international cricket, anybody else in the current squad batter or bowler would add to the team, he's useless. We've gotten rid of Farhat but still can't shake the cancer that is Malik and Akmal Sr; until these 2 are removed they will constantly bring us down.

  • on March 27, 2014, 4:54 GMT

    its pretty simple.. Pakistan lacks an experienced player ( Indian for e.g. has Dhoni) who can come in late in the innings to guide a chase. It is unfortunate that we have vested so much time with Malik that we now feel obliged to ' make use of his experience ' and force his selection. Fact of the matter is Pakistan lacks options. Kamran Akmal is the player who fits this requirement, who can come down the order and we can use another opener like Sharjeel or Nasir jamshed ... clearly this is not a great option either.

  • on March 27, 2014, 0:24 GMT

    To be honest ,Muhammad Hafeez should also be dropped.What has he done ?His average is like 20.And for SM he should totally be dropped.

    Imran nazir deserves a chance again..

  • on March 26, 2014, 12:46 GMT

    why isn't raza hassan in he squad?

  • on March 26, 2014, 12:00 GMT

    except the similarity with Mohammad Yousuf all is true..... Management should add Sharjeel Khan to strengthen the batting or add any bowler to strengthen bowling.... he is totally misfit in the squad...

  • on March 26, 2014, 5:12 GMT

    all of you sporting malik you don't know pakistan have lots of player better than him can you see he play 22 matches last 4 world cup make only 416 average 19 please bring some good for pakistan future

  • on March 25, 2014, 23:32 GMT

    I truly agree Sharjeel does not deserve a spot. He played at the most flat pitches and yet to give performance. He needs to be dropped. Nasir Jamshed needs to be given regular spot. The guy single handedly won the series against india. Yes he didn't perform on difficult tracks but look at india persisting with Shikar Dhawan

  • t20cric on March 25, 2014, 20:18 GMT

    Definitely Shoaib Malik needs to be dropped. In the current squad only Sharjeel can replace him which would be really good cuz we would have an aggressive opener & have an opening left-right combination. Among the quartet of Pakistani allrounders who are in there mid 30s-Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi, Shoab Malik & Abdur Razzaq- Shoaib Malik is definitely the worst as he isn't a match winner like Razzaq & Afridi (when they're in form) & he doesn't have the bowling that Hafeez has to keep him in the side. Kamran is similar cuz he is a wicket keeper who can't keep. There are plenty of young & talented guys who can replace this duo. Guys like Hammad Azam & Anwar Ali (not Amin as he is just a younger Malik) come to mind as Malik's replacements but if it has to be a specialist batsman then Harris Sohail or Fawad Alam. As a replacement for Kamran we can try Mohammad Rizwan or Sarfraz Ahmed not U. Akmal cuz wicketkeeping effects his batting

  • on March 25, 2014, 19:49 GMT

    He is one of player who got political influence. He is blocking the way for young player like hammad azam , harris sohail and others..... i hope this wt20 would be his career last international tournament.

  • on March 25, 2014, 18:09 GMT

    One player Hamad Azam is also a good candidate for t20.

  • on March 25, 2014, 18:08 GMT

    I don;t understand why majority here wants sharjeel khan in the team. So far in all his matches he has performed "once" only, and its probably the reason he's not playing in the t20 team at this time. Match Winners or big/power hitters are probably whats required to make a good t20 team , considering this fawad alam,imran nazir and the likes etc could have been selected.

  • on March 25, 2014, 18:01 GMT

    He can play well, he simply lack's confidence . However given his form ( the way he has played so far) his return isn't justified thus far moreso there's more people in selection line who could have been given chance. Players likes khalid latif, fawad alam , imran nazir(suited to t20) could have been up there. To conclude the selection of shoaib malik is good but not good enough as there were better options available given shoaib malik's playing form at this moment. To prove his selection is right he needs to step up his game for example play 1 innings atleast scoring 30+ in 20 balls or so in t20 match. Hope i have written something that benefits then just only critcisim.

  • on March 25, 2014, 17:25 GMT

    Malik shouldn't be in the team, we should look forward now. If Malik is the choice then why not Misbha, at least you are sure he will score more runs then Malik or bring back Fawad Alam, I think Pakistan require a left hander, at the current time they may bring Sarjeel who is with the team but again Sarjeel performance in last few innings may have not giving Hafeez's any confidence. Pakistan domestic T20 doesn't show up any outstanding coming player & we all have to realize that our Domestic cricket standard has been very poor

  • Capriknock on March 25, 2014, 16:25 GMT

    I think pakistan need to replace malik with Sharjeel and replace and here the pakistan batting order: Sharjeel,Ahmad Shahzad, kamran Akmal, Hafeez, Umar Akmal, Shohaib maqsood, Afridi, Bhatti,Umar Gul, Ajmal and then Zulfiqar babar. we may replace bhatti with junaid khan to strong the base attack.

  • cricket_fan_1980 on March 25, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    Shoaib played very well in the last t20 WC

  • criciologist on March 25, 2014, 13:27 GMT

    Shoaib Malik is a waste of space. He should nt have been in the team in the first place. PCB needs to look forward and not two steps back. It would be criminal to make Sharjeel sit on the benches at the expense of Shoaib.

  • on March 25, 2014, 11:35 GMT

    malik has no room in this team. a very talented player like sharjeel is sitting outside because of him. in a T20 its hard for bowler to adjust his line length for a left right hand combination. Pakistan could easily open with sharjeel and kamran akmal followed by hafeez , umar akmal , shoaib maqsood and so on.

  • Sports4Youth on March 25, 2014, 11:06 GMT

    in the last 4 years S.Malik has played 26 games and scored 349 runs @ avg 18.36 and not a single century or half century. His Higest is the last 4 years is 43. Malik's Stats below.

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/42657.html?class=2;spanmax1=25+Mar+2014;spanmin1=25+Mar+2010;spanval1=span;template=results;type=batting

  • Sports4Youth on March 25, 2014, 11:01 GMT

    What is the point in dropping MISBAH from the T20i team if SHOEB MALIK conitnues. Moreover, Malik does not bowl these days, so if he is in the team as a specialist bastman then it the the biggest blunder that the selectors and the Captain are committing. There are so many good & young all-rounders like ANWAR ALI, BILAWAL BHATTI, HAMMAD AZAM etc who are quite good with the bat, they are very good filelders and most importantly they are meidium pacers except BHATTI who is a geniune fast bowler.

    With Hafeez & Afridi already occupying the spinning all-rounders spot AND AJMALbeing the specialist spinner I dont see the room for another spinning all-rounder. Moreover, he is Haffez like in his bowling. He does not bring any variety to the side. NOWADAYS HIS FIELDING HAS ALSO BECOME RUBBISH.

  • on March 25, 2014, 4:28 GMT

    He has no rooms in the cricket team. He must have been replaced with Sharjeel.

  • pkXI on March 25, 2014, 3:31 GMT

    @seo7seo I would say the exception to that is Imran Khan. He is not only a famous player, but especially well known for his captaincy.

  • on March 25, 2014, 2:40 GMT

    PCB's selection committee is so stupid and messed up. What's thr point of the donestic T20 league, the 30 Man squad for the T20 world cup was announced before the domestic tournament and players lile Malik and Kamran were selectes. Kamran did good but his domestic performance was below satisfactory. aizaz cheema (highest wicket taker in domestic T20 cup) and younus khan (higjest run scorer) werent selected in the squad. younus retired but he said that he'll play T20Is if tje board/selectors wants him to play them. domestic players like Azhar attari,Ali Khan and youngsters like ehsan adil,raza hassan and anwar ali aren't given proper chances. ehat the hell is wrong with the PCB?

  • on March 25, 2014, 1:37 GMT

    I believe he does not have a place in the side. If I am Pakistan selector, I would replace him with Skipper Misbah

  • on March 25, 2014, 1:22 GMT

    Who would you have instead? I did not see that really covered... um, if no better option, that is the answer. That's why he is there... i.e. why not?

  • Daredevil123 on March 24, 2014, 23:12 GMT

    @Omarzz seriously u think Shehzad is a failure then u must watch some cricket because Shehzad has been the most consistent man in the side in all formats he has been performing spectacularly in odis and got a 145 against SL in tests he has 5 centuries in odis in just 44 matches and is the next big thing he is also an agile player and more talented than Malik clearly :)

  • kauldheeraj on March 24, 2014, 22:20 GMT

    I have been reading all the articles by you and @karachikhatmal for close to 1 year. Although both of you seem to be all over Pakistani cricket followers, I admittedly being one of them, never do I see a tinge of technical justifications, instead of plethora of political and emotional ones, not mentioning the nitty-gritties of the game. I would have loved to see a few lines here and there mentioning Shoaib's change in approach to spinners and fast bowlers, his tendency to play more irresponsibly at the start of his innings, or his consistent failures against spinners owing to his pre-determination emanating from whatsoever confidence he has left in him. Being a cricket website, I, as a reader expect more technical nitty-gritties than board politics and inside imbroglio.

  • on March 24, 2014, 19:39 GMT

    Malik everytime scores heavily in domestic circuit and makes comeback in team. But in international cricket he looks ordinary. checkout his last 5 year record. I remeber just his 2 innings 1 is 127 vs india in 2009 and second is 50 in t20 vs india in india december-2012. other than that nothing, he droped from team after champions trophy bcz of his bad run. but when the world cup came suddenly he is in t20 team while in recent t20 domestic cup lots of other youngsters performed. but he is still in team just bcz of his 10 years ago performnace. buddy it is 2014 not 2003 when he hit 27 runs to pollock. he played for 10 years after that innings. dont bank on his that prerfrmnce .compare his last 5 year performnce with any youngster , i guarantee you youngsters are better than him. Time for pakistan to look at 2015 WC. left out such xperince so called playrs whose xperince does not win matches for us. pick haris sohail, fawad alam, umar amin, ali waqasand more talented plyrs from domestic

  • Shahsa on March 24, 2014, 18:44 GMT

    His selection is based on the excellent domestic performance.....so guys don't be biased if he is selected in the team just like other players are selected based on domestic performance.

  • on March 24, 2014, 18:20 GMT

    @omerrz : afridi is a match winner... when he didn't perform with the bat he performs with the ball... he is a match winner...

  • seo7seo on March 24, 2014, 18:20 GMT

    Ironically, most of the players coming from subcontinent and West Indies are keen to be captains. This attitude must be changed. All players need to realize that only those players establish themselves as permanent players in the team who win matches (at their own) at least once or twice a year. Sachin Tendulkar, Wasim Akram, Javed Miandad etc. will be remembered for many more years although they were not captains during most of their carriers. No body would care who was the captain when Sachin played. Instead, captains would proudly tell their grand children that they were a part of the team when Sachin was playing from India. It is your match winning ability that brings money, fame and power (veto power infact) in the world of cricket. As far as Malik and Kamran Akmal (especially) are concerned, I don't remember when Pakistan won a match because of these two players. They should be given rest until they are able to produce such form at least once in a decade.

  • on March 24, 2014, 17:37 GMT

    I always thought Shoaib was the next best thing. A complete package as he was a bowler, batsman, fielder, and even a winning captain. However when he was made captain of the national team, he got himself into dirty politics, lost his form, and never recovered.

  • Omarrz on March 24, 2014, 17:11 GMT

    Under Woolmer, he was opening the batting and was doing a great job. I don't know why selectors at that time and still think that Pak need "specialist openers". I mean, we have tried failures like Shehzad, Sharjeel, Farhat, and numerous others. They all are specialist openers. Shoaib Malik didn't get the respect he deserved when he was opening the batting and scoring heavily. He should have made a regular opener. But no he was dropped down the order and then eventually removed. Afridi is the only player who will never get drop even if he fail in every second match.

  • Bernoulli on March 24, 2014, 17:09 GMT

    I guess his reputation as an India bully (like Salman Butt, Salim Malik, Carl Hooper, Chanderpaul and the list goes on.) is what helps him come back just when you think he is gone for ever. I am pretty sure Pak has lot of talented players if they can let go of whatever political reason is that leading to SM making a comeback. He still stays fit and in shape to be fair to him so may be it is worth the gamble in some way, who knows?

  • on March 24, 2014, 17:04 GMT

    Rashid latif recently supported his selection in the team which came as a surprise to me.. i thought Rashid was more sensible than this and i was really hoping he would come and make a difference. Hope he also doesnt turn into a yes man.

  • on March 24, 2014, 16:57 GMT

    Since he got married for the second to an indian celebrity he started behaving complacent. Plus he was the one who was disgruntled when Yunis Khan was appointed and formed groups and conspired to the highest level. I remember reading an article in cricinfo about how Malik conspired and made life hell for Yunis. The article's headline was The Termite Malik. It was appropriate and unveiled his true character and personality. Like everyone on twitter is hurling abuses at him and other renowned social sites that he's nothing but a "Parchi Man." He's responsible for disharmony in our national team in 2009. And I ask the board why a person who admitted throwing away the match on national tv in adomestic match was made the captain in the first place?

  • on March 24, 2014, 16:56 GMT

    jiny mohn onya gallan (as many chatters as many mouth) before you take your personal liking and disliking against Malik I have few questions; 1: Yousaf , Younas and Afridi are they bigger then the Pakistan, how on earth some one can under-perform to bring down a captain?????? why the proved so powerful to bring Malik down form captaincy????/ 2, do you know what is the economy rate of shaun pollak ? and do you remember any one hitting him out of the park not just once but thrice? ending up 27 runs an Our, please name if there was a bowler he was uneasy against ? 3, do you know he has every shot in the book with no apparent weakness He was establishing as a match winner and a finisher and a great leader/captain, its just the politics/EGO got him down and since then, i agree, he is not been the same but why not back him for just a while. if anybody counting his batting against india then I doubt his wisdom as the next match proved we were easy on them for some reasons :) water, trade..

  • FahadBashir on March 24, 2014, 16:53 GMT

    We, in Pakistan, have very short memories. We glorify heroes to the status of gods and then demonize them to oblivion only to remember them fondly a few years down the road. The question of Shoaib Malik is at once simple and the most complex. If you go down memory lane, you will see that at the end Of Inzi's career all of us were calling for the senior players' heads. We lost to Ireland if I remember correctly. And then we sort of got a new team over night with Shoaib Malik as the captain. And he was brilliant! Creative, aggressive and full of optimism. He was the Graeme Smith of Pakistan. Unfortunately, the politics in our cricket has destroyed this promising player. The experience Shoaib brings to cricket is hollow, as he has never again produced the kind of form as he did as a captain. It is with a sad heart that I have to say, for the sake of Pakistan cricket, we have to let him go.

  • on March 24, 2014, 16:24 GMT

    question is not about his current farm it is about his class. Remember farm is temprarey class is parmanent. so hi is a class act. i din't think so we should think about his farm it about our future captain he is a naturl leader. i bet he gonna be best captain of pakistan and he will be captain soon after world cup 2015. so be pactince about hus farm. i m sure he is a fighter and will bounce back

  • Mel-waas on March 24, 2014, 15:56 GMT

    Malik, has no place in the side but keeps getting selected. This bizarre trend has been questioned by foreign cricket writers (like George Dobell) as well. It sickens me to know that someone better could have served Pakistan in his place, for all the chances that were given to Shoaib Malik were wasted. Case in Point is Fawad Alam, performed whenever he was given a chance plus an all time high average in Domestic cricket. Still Malik is in the side with blessing of selectors, Media men, Former & current players etc.

  • on March 24, 2014, 15:50 GMT

    regarding the question of maliks replacement, there are many in domestic. haris is best option. but if they dont want to go for new guy and the reason for selecting him is to stable innings if top order collapse then it can be fawad alam as well. better than malik if they dont want new guy like haris sohail.

  • aminur3095 on March 24, 2014, 15:35 GMT

    I still strongly believe that Malik can be the captain, the PAK team requires now. He's a good cricketing brain, he's aggressive. Still now if he's given the chance, I think that he can serve the nation next 2-3 years at least as a captain od the ODI team.

  • fair_paly_1 on March 24, 2014, 15:07 GMT

    Sajid Hussain

    Having seen many answers, now "My Question is" to you.

    Are you satisfied that there are many better players?

  • on March 24, 2014, 14:45 GMT

    @ Usman Nasir: Do u really think Asad, Azhar can replace Malik?????

  • siqbal00 on March 24, 2014, 14:44 GMT

    @Sajid, Easy answer .. any player from domestic T20 who has better average/performance. Trust me Malik is no way prominent on that list. The only possible option in current squad is Sharjeel since there is no other batsman on bench. Sharjeel is no master class but I will prefer him any day over lethargic 15 runs in 25 balls from Malik

  • on March 24, 2014, 14:27 GMT

    Still no one can justify why he is in team. We have pool full of youngsters waiting to get chance in International matches, Fawad Alam/Sharjeel Khan/Haris Sohail/Azhar Ali/Asad Shafiq can all fill Shoaib Malik's slot and they have plenty of years to play.

    Shoaib Malik doesn't have the Afridi or Akmal brother's capabilities to turn on the match.

  • Desihungama on March 24, 2014, 14:21 GMT

    I only have one question. If Malik can then why not Misbah?

  • on March 24, 2014, 13:59 GMT

    @SajidHassan.. a player who is not good enough to play test cricket can be replaced by anyone.. So try to understand what article states Malik did well when Pakistan middle order had Younis, Yusuf and Inzi. He is not even 10% class to all 3 of them. He have no place in this T20 squad as well and if today I have to replace him I can just bring in Harros sohail, Fawad Alam, Umer Amin, Mohd Rizwan. Malik never was and never will be more then an average player to play cricket.

  • Insan01 on March 24, 2014, 13:56 GMT

    Very Good Article. I think his place should have given to Umar Amin/Sharjeel Khan/Fawad Alam .Some friends talked about Experience & bring Misbah but I think Misbah is good . but the best player as per experience should be Abdul Razzaq (he is not playing only because issues with Professor) Malik is not even used as bowler at least Abdul Razzaq will be a good 7th bowler in team. Rashid Latif got a big job to do. Good Luck Pakistan....

  • on March 24, 2014, 13:52 GMT

    We do not remember the rule of Malik . He is stabalizer in the batting lineup. he played well against India and i am satisfied with him. I think him not bowling as a spinner is not beneficial for the team. he used to be a good allrounder but now a days hafeez is not using him because hafeez wants to become allrounder. malik position as senior player is safe in the team.

  • on March 24, 2014, 13:50 GMT

    Malik can be replaced with any of the young guns. BUT do something now!

  • on March 24, 2014, 13:45 GMT

    @Sajid Hey, since Malik is playing only as a batsman, his best replacement would be Haris sohail, who averages 48 in domestic t20s. Sohail would have provided not only the stability but also left hand-right hand combination to unsettle the opposition bowlers.

  • on March 24, 2014, 13:44 GMT

    I have a question for mr sajid, when did malik score his last fifty in international cricket? He is not performing from years and getting chances over chances. I think he have big political support. If you ask malik even he can't define his role in the team. There are lot of players in the team and domestic cercuit who can replace him. Like sharjeel, nasir jamshed, anwar ali,fawad alam etc.

  • fair_paly_1 on March 24, 2014, 13:40 GMT

    Bilal Farooq

    "...a stable player..." What nonsense!!!

    Malik got out at 18 and at a time he came out, you need to go with all out hitting to get to a competitive total in a t20 match. He should have played like Sohaib Maqsood did which was the need at the time. Malik's was a match losing innings as always.

  • amitgarg78 on March 24, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    Pak cricket has underachieved in the last few years, despite having shown promise and talent often doesn't prosper. Malik, isn't the only one to have his place questioned. Hafeez, kamran belong in the same group, who find themselves back in the squad countless time. I am sure that somewhere, the domestic structure has got some talented boy who is waiting for that elusive opportunity. If only, life was fair...

  • on March 24, 2014, 13:18 GMT

    What is the best replacement of Shoib Malik,,,,, if any one have best answer must reply. Most respectfully to Usman Samiuddin please reply must with your answer of best experience in your mind the replacement of Malik. I am waiting for answer.

  • on March 24, 2014, 13:13 GMT

    My Question is that who is the best player..... replacement of the Shoib Malik. If any one can justify replacement answer must. Dear Usman Samiuddin i need answer from you experience too.

  • malepas on March 24, 2014, 12:36 GMT

    Good piece Osman, I as well always wonder about Malik's position in this team and how he gets selected again and again but never seems to have produced any meaningful performance, he gets drop but than he crops up again at the back of some home performance etc, I think the best use of Malik was to make him Captain but he had this habit of rubbing people the wrong way, he like to create his close-net circle and anybody who chose to be out of that circle is not welcome in the team, and Malik used to make sure of this, this kind Omnipotent way of thinking actually killed him as a cricketer, he is no where near as good as he used to be and I can't see any chance of him improving, he is very weak against FAST BOWLING and tried to bat most of the time to save his place in the team which is not good for the team, I think PCB should do away with him now as lots of very talented young-ones are waiting.

  • on March 24, 2014, 12:14 GMT

    Iin all t20 matches he score 3850 @ 37.37 with 120 strike rate he more likely to play in crisis situation like against india when we were 3 down for 47 he was rotating the strike with 1 and 2 giving much strike to umar to play his stroke he took 2 runs plenty of time even comentators were praising him if he gave his wickt early even 110 was out of sight for us in that match. a stable player like him should in playing 11.

  • on March 24, 2014, 12:11 GMT

    Pak selectors shud have selcted Misbah instead of malik if they wanted a mature & experienced guy in middle order

  • Smohyuddin on March 24, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    Very well written. You may have to write a similar article pretty soon on Kamran Akmal. Since Pakistan won that game against Australia, no one seems to be talking about his dropped catch of Finch that could have cost them the game if Finch would have stayed for another 2-3 overs. I don't understand on what basis selectors keep on selecting him again and again, and guess what he does every time? Drop catches!

  • on March 24, 2014, 12:08 GMT

    If I was a selector apart from Malik I would also not have Tanvir or Sharjeel in the squad. In place of Sharjeel I would have preferred Nasir Jamshed. But now that we cannot change the squad we need to make best use of the fifteen players available and provided everyone is fit I would not definitely include Malik or Tanvir in the XI. My XI would be: 1. Shehzad, 2. Sharjeel, 3. Kamran (w/k), 4. Umar, 5. Maqsood, 6. Hafeez, 7. Afridi, 8. Gul, 9. Babar, 10. Ajmal, 11. Junaid.

  • fair_paly_1 on March 24, 2014, 10:40 GMT

    When average players like Malik and Imran Farahat keep resurfacing after tried and tested failures and when the likes of Fawad Alam, shine after being given an odd chance her and there, there is something seriously wrong in selectors imagination or the system itself.

  • on March 24, 2014, 10:38 GMT

    @Salman. Its not about administration that everyone is ranting about, its about the politics within the team. as Osman (bhai) pointed it out really well "... encircled as he was by older vultures like Mohammad Yousuf, who could never digest having been overlooked for the captaincy". Mohamamd Yousuf played a large part in creating this rebellious nature in the team at that time. You see him in talk shows now and he is always critical about Pak's win even over India or Australia. IF it were about administrations and as you say that even Imran Khan would've been a victim of it, then he wouldn't have retired and be working on his awesome hospital because hes a politician by trade and he could easily handle that. Infact the board dragged him back in just in time for that memorable 1992 World Cup. This is all about the politics in the team which he couldn't handle. The likes of Yousuf and Akmal made him feel that he didn't belong there. Right now, Misbah is holding the team together.

  • syedzaf on March 24, 2014, 10:36 GMT

    Its very straight forward that all the players in pakistan cricket team are not selected on their performance. Personal relationships and politics are always involved in team selection, shoaib malik can be replaced by 100s of players just want a chance to shine and its so unfair to keep picking old useles players in the name of experience.. next question should be about kamran akmal

  • wahabkhattak on March 24, 2014, 10:18 GMT

    No doubt he had been a key to success for Pakistan, but his current form is very disappointing. I am afaraid at the end of this world T2o, if Pak do not finish well, his position shall be questioned seriously!

  • on March 24, 2014, 10:08 GMT

    Beautifully written. Malik for sure has tremendous potential and it is PCB's lack of management skills that have hampered his progress like many other players. If it was left to the management even Imran Khan could have ended his career prematurely.

  • Zahidsaltin on March 24, 2014, 9:35 GMT

    Malik isn't a big hitter like Umar Akmal or Afridi. He is basically an accumulator who is a very good player of spin bowling and mainly relies on running between the wickets. He is more suited to a no. 4 spot where he can build an innings by scoring run a ball just as Younis Khan did in 2010 WC. in contrast to Younis, Malik has an ability to accelerate with huge boundries later in his innings.

  • fayyaz03 on March 24, 2014, 9:33 GMT

    The only reason behind Malik's selection could be the recent t20 domestic cup in pakistan where he averaged 36 with the bat but his strike rate was still below 105. Had this tournament being the criteria, I guess than Younis Khan should be selected first who averaged 100 with the strike rate of 130+. The selectors will never stop joking. Pakistan need young boys with some fire. Harris Sohail one of the unfortunate guy who averages 50+ in first class and 45+ in domestic T20s was again ignored. I think this guy will end up like Brad Hodge.

  • Stark62 on March 24, 2014, 9:30 GMT

    His selection is a great mystery and puzzle, which would even challenge the greatest of minds like Einstein, Sherlock and Newton!

    Anwyay, he has averaged just 18 at a SR of 97, since Jan 2010 in T20I's and that in itself, is enough to question his selection and futhermore, his place in the starting 11.

    Personally, I would bring in Sharjeel because he is aggressive and will make a quick fire 20, whilst demoting Shezhad down the order to let him be the rebuilder of an innings because his new style of approach is not going to work in this format and he only wastes the PP overs upfront (best time to bat), so let him reconstruct a collapse.

  • Zahidsaltin on March 24, 2014, 9:26 GMT

    It might be hard to justify his selection in general but in my opinion he is a good enough player who lacks confidence. The real question here is, who would you select for T20 WC if you, among a lot want to select a batsman with qualities to play spin, Misbah, Younis, Asad Shafiq and Malik many will say. Misbah and Younis being taken of the shelf and Asad Shafiq not being considered a suitable choice for T20, the selectors had no other choice but Malik.

  • FHZAHID on March 24, 2014, 8:46 GMT

    Instead of Shoaib Malik, the selectors should have included Anwer Ali into the squad. This might have better impact over the team performance in World T20.

  • iffy187 on March 24, 2014, 8:27 GMT

    malik is an experienced cricketer yes, but in this format i don't think he has what it takes especially at international level, somebody like fawad alam who is younger and does the same job as Malik, i.e rotate the strike, get quick singles and bowl a few part time overs here and there should have been selected instead, especially after his recent performances in the asia cup.

  • on March 24, 2014, 8:23 GMT

    Until the PCB raises its standard or professionalism by having stability in selection process, this will be an ongoing exercise. Shoaib Malik will continue to return in the side for short stints and be thrown out. He was given captaincy incorrectly earlier where more deserving senior players were in contention. Thus, he rode on his luck and since continues to do so. From seeing him come and go in the side, he has taken this for granted that one way or the other he will make a comeback after performing in the local league. Gone are the Imran Khan days of professionalism and sanctity of captaincy, now its a more power grab gesture that has been going on post World Cup 1992.

  • on March 24, 2014, 8:19 GMT

    the man is a spent force im sure we have some middle order batsmen who can bowl a bit instead of him. i.e fawad alam

  • on March 24, 2014, 8:14 GMT

    very well written Osman. Its sad to see him go down like this. He was such a fine talent with a street smart brain. He should not have been made captain in the presence of M. Yousaf, Younis or Afridi, as it is in our culture to see a junior jumping past a senior.

    And it is so disheartening to see the comments related to him. We often overlook the hardwork one had put in to be here. Having witnessed his hardship before coming to Pak team, he deserves respect. But then we never learned to respect our heroes. No wonder we are struggling nation going deep into well.

  • on March 24, 2014, 8:08 GMT

    well he is a good finisher ,He is the only player in our batting line up tht can control hos nerves when pressure is on the batting line up,You will see he will come handy when Pakistan will chase any target ,We dont have players in the team that perform under pressure ,Malik will answer your question specially when pakistan will chase the target .

  • AmmarAshraf on March 24, 2014, 8:06 GMT

    @Ali

    And in ODIs, he is averaging 18.16 with SR of 68.27 since Oct 2009, yet to score 50. He is not suitable for ODIs as well. Pakistan is wasting their resources on Shoaib Malik. Expired Product!

  • on March 24, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    so after reading all comments i felt that there are always the supporters of someone and as well as unsupported persons too, but i think malik would have to deeply concentrate on game, he's one of the best player of the Pak's history but he is out form now. he is a best guy for one day format and even if he became back in form then no one can stop him to score for team. I wish Malik become in very good form, "BEST OF LUCK MALIK"

  • on March 24, 2014, 7:45 GMT

    He should be kicked out of the team immediately. He is just occupying a young talented batsman's place. I cannot get how he jumps in again and again in the team. Our selection committee is just on paper, actual authority is somewhere else. If PCB starts working as an organization, our team is capable of doing wonders in the cricket world. And we would be able to remove the 'unpredictible' label for our team as well; and replace it with 'doable'.

  • AmmarAshraf on March 24, 2014, 7:43 GMT

    @Ali

    Pakistan's batting is indeed vulnerable and Shoaib Malik is the reason. In his last 29 T20 innings (Which is 55% of his T20 Career) he scored at average of 17.72 with the SR of 94.20 and during that period he hit 31 Fours and 5 Sixes. He played average 18 balls per innings which means he normally hit 1 boundary in 1 innings. Pakistan don't need this type of experience.

  • on March 24, 2014, 7:38 GMT

    Superb article laced with loads of humour to drive the questions home. He's not the first & won't be last to have been roasted on the captaincy grill. Good luck to him..

  • on March 24, 2014, 7:27 GMT

    he used to be a good player. very utility player till 2010 may be. but after that he is just below average player. he could have become a good all rounder and middle overs player with handy bowling. but some how after he was removed from captaincy, it all vanished. his captaincy stint was an ok one for pakistan. not too good not too bad.

    since 2010, he is not the same player. always good in domestic events. captaining his side again and again to domestic titles, taking wickets and scoring runs. but when selected to international team, he always failed during last 4 years.

    this time, his selection is very questionable as his recent domestic or big bash record is not good at all. so dont know on what basis he was selected.

    if baber is playing then we will not need his bowling anyway. his batting is poor. so it will be better to leave him out and play sharjeel as opener. baber, hafeez, ajmal and afridi are enough spin options. he is just a passenger now.

  • on March 24, 2014, 7:24 GMT

    i still feel pakistan need malik experience badly pakistan batting still quite vulnerable and someone experienced like malik to play anchor role when it matters and we all know its going to matter once again but he is more suited to one day cricket rather than t20 its not his kind of game ...

  • on March 24, 2014, 7:20 GMT

    He is a very useful cricketer, the only bad luck with him is that right now we have 3-4 batsmen for No. 3, and he's not getting a proper opportunity. Just try him as a one down batsman and then you will see his class. And another thing i don't understand that when your regular bowling line up failed against Aus. why u didn't give him a chance? Anyway Good Luck Team PAKISTAN!!!

  • on March 24, 2014, 7:06 GMT

    I believe there is something which brings this useless guy known as shoaib malik in the team.He is good for nothig.He can't play pace and can't roatate strike as well.I strongly believe he has some political connections which brings him in the team.Pakistan needs a young batsman in the middle.There are so many young and talented batsman in the domestic circut,i don't know why malik is alwaqys preffered.Same is the case with kamran akmal.

  • rappedonthepads on March 24, 2014, 7:06 GMT

    haha, I was wondering the same thing couple of days ago. My mind goes a bit hazy but wasn't he sort of responsible for Saqlain's departure from the Pak national team- modelling his bowling action on Saqlain's as well as attempting the doosra. Now if he isn't bowling, he shouldn't be playing. Surely Pak can find a better bat than him.

  • tanweer.arshad on March 24, 2014, 7:02 GMT

    It was really disaster decision of PCB when they appointed him as a captain for all three formats such a selfish man who first of make grouping in pak team and try to demolish future of muhammad yousaf and A bdurazak. I think PCB is responsible for all these poor circumstances in same era Indian Board called dhoni captain of T20 and after his good approach he became captain of one day then test Team.Haris Sohail is one of the best replacement of shoaib malik.

  • bouncer709 on March 24, 2014, 6:57 GMT

    Osman Samiuddin missed one big point that is what happened to his bowling, Shoaib malik actually joined the team as an offbreak bowler, and to give him place in the team.. guess who was slaughtered? ... It was great Saqlain Mushtaq.. and I still remember and can't digest when at national level in Twenty20 match shoaib Malik blocked four balls in last over to forfeit the match intentionally...

  • Bilal_Choudry on March 24, 2014, 6:56 GMT

    agreed a more aggressive selection would b an inform Anwar Ali .. since essentially Malik n Haffeez provide same utility value and u cannot have both in the team

  • on March 24, 2014, 6:44 GMT

    Hes a great world class Allrounder ..... NOOOOT!!!

  • MianMoosa on March 24, 2014, 6:40 GMT

    In the era of inzi captaincy and after that even in his own era he use to be a very good batsman if not a bowler, inzi used him very well, but then suddenly something happened in 2009 just the moment he lost his captaincy, after that his only impressive innings was against india in 2009, but now it is 2014 not even a half century in all formats, still he is in the team, every time when he drops from the team, we think thanks God we get rid of him but some how he comes back, pops again & again,,,and even i dont like him at all sometime i feels he needs to be in Pakistan t20 squad with all the big hitters around in the team he provide a different taste, thats very strange i don,t like, but i still want him in the team,,,that how complex character he is

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on March 24, 2014, 6:09 GMT

    Just what on earth has Malik done in the recent past to justify his place? Of course, one could say much the same of Kamran Akmal and the captain himself. By the way, when did Malik last slay India? Not in the recent past as I remember.

  • on March 24, 2014, 6:07 GMT

    He is essential to put a stop to classic collapse that Pakistani line up suffers every now and then. He is instrumental in panic conditions, keep his cool and can be a anchor. I suggest send him number 3. Hafeez should come lower down.

  • IrfanMalik on March 24, 2014, 6:07 GMT

    I just say; Because he is a great T20 Player, if PAK captain use him right way.....

  • on March 24, 2014, 5:58 GMT

    I too could not understand what his he doing in the team? there is no place for him, not only in playing squad but also in 14, 21, and 51 top members of PCB. He is good for nothing and must not be in the team. he can't bowl, can't bat.

  • Israr-Ali on March 24, 2014, 5:58 GMT

    Very Good Article. i think first of all we should not be that much harsh on him or any other cricketer. he should be given chance in top order and some overs in next match . i feel he need time in middle.

  • on March 24, 2014, 4:50 GMT

    I really don't understand why he is in the squad. Is he playing as a regular batsman? If yes, then don't we have a better batsman than him in t20 in our domestic cricket? There have been a number of batsmen who score more runs than him in t20 format but they have been ignored. Similarly, Kamran Akmal's inclusion is debatable. Umar Akmal is the best in t20 and Odi. We don't need Kamran. Yesterday he dropped 2 catches on crucial occasion. We can't afford such events any more.

  • ICKY on March 24, 2014, 4:46 GMT

    A great article. We are also trying to solve this mystery as to what gets Shoaib Malik in the team despite his failures and having a negative impct on the team always. The PCB chief and selectors see some Kohli or Afrid in him. I know If he stays in the team for another 4/5 years, he might learn how to bat and bowl. Right now he is a burden on the team and a factor of dis-orientation and disintegration in the team.

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  • ICKY on March 24, 2014, 4:46 GMT

    A great article. We are also trying to solve this mystery as to what gets Shoaib Malik in the team despite his failures and having a negative impct on the team always. The PCB chief and selectors see some Kohli or Afrid in him. I know If he stays in the team for another 4/5 years, he might learn how to bat and bowl. Right now he is a burden on the team and a factor of dis-orientation and disintegration in the team.

  • on March 24, 2014, 4:50 GMT

    I really don't understand why he is in the squad. Is he playing as a regular batsman? If yes, then don't we have a better batsman than him in t20 in our domestic cricket? There have been a number of batsmen who score more runs than him in t20 format but they have been ignored. Similarly, Kamran Akmal's inclusion is debatable. Umar Akmal is the best in t20 and Odi. We don't need Kamran. Yesterday he dropped 2 catches on crucial occasion. We can't afford such events any more.

  • Israr-Ali on March 24, 2014, 5:58 GMT

    Very Good Article. i think first of all we should not be that much harsh on him or any other cricketer. he should be given chance in top order and some overs in next match . i feel he need time in middle.

  • on March 24, 2014, 5:58 GMT

    I too could not understand what his he doing in the team? there is no place for him, not only in playing squad but also in 14, 21, and 51 top members of PCB. He is good for nothing and must not be in the team. he can't bowl, can't bat.

  • IrfanMalik on March 24, 2014, 6:07 GMT

    I just say; Because he is a great T20 Player, if PAK captain use him right way.....

  • on March 24, 2014, 6:07 GMT

    He is essential to put a stop to classic collapse that Pakistani line up suffers every now and then. He is instrumental in panic conditions, keep his cool and can be a anchor. I suggest send him number 3. Hafeez should come lower down.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on March 24, 2014, 6:09 GMT

    Just what on earth has Malik done in the recent past to justify his place? Of course, one could say much the same of Kamran Akmal and the captain himself. By the way, when did Malik last slay India? Not in the recent past as I remember.

  • MianMoosa on March 24, 2014, 6:40 GMT

    In the era of inzi captaincy and after that even in his own era he use to be a very good batsman if not a bowler, inzi used him very well, but then suddenly something happened in 2009 just the moment he lost his captaincy, after that his only impressive innings was against india in 2009, but now it is 2014 not even a half century in all formats, still he is in the team, every time when he drops from the team, we think thanks God we get rid of him but some how he comes back, pops again & again,,,and even i dont like him at all sometime i feels he needs to be in Pakistan t20 squad with all the big hitters around in the team he provide a different taste, thats very strange i don,t like, but i still want him in the team,,,that how complex character he is

  • on March 24, 2014, 6:44 GMT

    Hes a great world class Allrounder ..... NOOOOT!!!

  • Bilal_Choudry on March 24, 2014, 6:56 GMT

    agreed a more aggressive selection would b an inform Anwar Ali .. since essentially Malik n Haffeez provide same utility value and u cannot have both in the team