Malik wants to bat up the order for Pakistan
Shoaib Malik, the 31-year old Pakistan allrounder, believes he has another "five or six years" of cricket left in him. Malik, who was dropped from the national squad after the Champions Trophy, also wants to bat up the order instead of No 6 or 7, where he's been used of late.
"Representing your country is the biggest thing (and) of course I want to play for my team (Pakistan), I want to do well for my country," Malik said. "I still think I can play for another five or six years. I am fit but I want to see myself consistent. I do not want to bat at No 6 anymore. I want to bat at No 3 or 4."
Malik averages 39.02 in 51 ODI innings batting at Nos 1 to 3. At positions 4 to 7, his average comes down to 31.16 from 128 innings.
Malik last played Test cricket in 2010 but was part of Pakistan's limited-overs units until the Champions Trophy earlier this year, after which he has been ignored for the tours of West Indies and Zimbabwe. He admitted that injuries and poor form had contributed to his decline, but said he had now regained his strength. "I was struggling with my shoulder and my elbow but I have had surgery for my elbow and I have worked hard in the gym every day (since being dropped). Now I am absolutely fine. I can even bowl 30 overs in one day. I am very happy and I want to play as an all-rounder. That is my priority."
Malik is currently playing in the Caribbean Premier League, where he is the second-leading run-getter in the tournament with 223 runs from seven innings at a strike-rate of 114.94. Malik's side Barbados Tridents will face Jamaica Tallawahs in the second semi-final in Port-of-Spain on Friday. "It (CPL) is so far, so good (for me). I have played some good innings, (I have been) bowling also. I want my team to be in the final and win this CPL."
He said that Barbados captain Kieron Pollard's faith in him as an all-rounder, since they spoke at the Champions Trophy, had boosted him. "When someone gives you that confidence it is always good," Malik said, revealing that Pollard encouraged him to bowl as much as possible and extend his all-rounder aspirations.
Renaldo Matadeen is a sportswriter and social media manager for ESPN Caribbean. He tweets here