Shoaib Malik, the former Pakistan captain, has said he is targeting a return to Test cricket, starting with the series against Sri Lanka in the UAE. Malik was speaking after his unbeaten 88 off 49 balls gave Sialkot a commanding victory over Lahore at the National Stadium in Karachi, and with it a place in the final of the Faysal Bank Twenty20 Cup.
"I am targeting Test cricket. Once you hit [form] in the format you certainly [improve] your chances to be successful in other formats as well," Malik told reporters. "Test cricket is the real form of cricket and I am more concerned about it."
Malik, who has played 32 Tests, has been at his best against Sri Lanka in the past. He averages 59.75 from nine Tests, far above his career average of 33.45, and both his Test centuries have come against them. He was recalled to the national team by the PCB during the recent tour of Zimbabwe after being cleared by the board's integrity committee, more than a year following Pakistan's controversy-filled tour of England.
"I don't know what selectors have decided for me but I am optimistic," Malik said. "I was actually feeling rusty during the Zimbabwe tour but after playing the domestic Twenty20 I feel I've regained my touch."
While focusing on cementing his place in the national side in all forms of cricket, Malik said regaining the captaincy wasnt a priority. "I am focusing on my form and captaincy is secondary for me."
Malik expected a tough series against Sri Lanka, who are coming off a 0-1 loss in their three-Test series against Australia at home. "They are a tough side to play," Malik said. "We need to chalk out special plans to take on Sri Lanka and must execute them accordingly. Otherwise you can't expect positive results."
The Pakistan selectors are currently in Karachi to pick the side for the Sri Lanka series. Pakistan will play three back-to-back Tests against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah in the UAE from October 18, and are scheduled to depart on October 15.