Pakistan allrounder Shoaib Malik has stated that the foot inflammation that kept him out of the first ODI against New Zealand in Wellington was a minor injury and that he had wanted to play the game but was advised rest by the team management. Malik also revealed that he played the preceding three-match T20 series with painkillers and a strapped foot. His selection for the third ODI in Auckland on Sunday will be determined by a fitness assessment before the match.
Malik sustained the injury prior to the first T20 in Auckland while walking barefoot near the ground. He scored 20, 39 and 14 in the three matches but bowled only 2.4 overs.
"I played with painkillers for the country," Malik told ESPNcricinfo. "The injury was minor and I am not a 25-year-old to pull myself in caution. I am an experienced cricketer and can play with minor injuries. I believe that I can give my 100%, so I rather ignore minor niggles. I didn't even try to hide myself in the field and batted to my full capacity to contribute.
"I wasn't really 100% with my body but I was there in the game with my 100%. I contributed and those three T20 games were quite evident. I even wanted to play the ODI but was rested for the game lest I aggravate my injury further. They wanted me to hold back for a while until the second ODI, giving me ample time to recover."
Having lost the T20 series 2-1, Pakistan are keen to save the ODI series. They lost the first ODI after having New Zealand reeling at 99 for 6, while the second match was abandoned due to rain. Malik said there were plenty of lessons for Pakistan to learn from the tour.
"Obviously it wasn't the one we planned for but you got to give New Zealand an edge being a host," Malik said. "There were mistakes that could have been cut down and we did our best but it didn't go well. But such a tour gives you a lot of positives going ahead and this will help us. The competitiveness always gives you lessons and it allow to you assess yourself, and I am hopeful this tour is going to help us in the upcoming Asia Cup and World T20.
"Comparatively New Zealand were a better side and we need to enhance our individual performances. Our coaching staff has been emphasising on physical fitness, which needs to be improved, and I feel we are still behind the cricketing world in this aspect of the game. Also, if we need to compete, apart from fitness, we need to enhance our skill level to match the competition."