Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi believes that veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik can make vital contributions for Pakistan in the upcoming T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Malik, 39, was not part of Pakistan’s preliminary squad for the mega event, in fact, he wasn’t either considered when the Pakistan Cricket Board made three new changes to their squad on October 8.
Good to see Shoaib Malik recalled for the T20 World Cup: Shahid Afridi
It was only when Multan batsman Sohaib Maqsood was ruled out of the tournament after suffering a lower back injury, the senior Pakistan player got his opportunity to represent Pakistan maybe for the last time in his illustrious international career.
Afridi, who has played with Malik for more than a decade, was delighted to see his former teammate’s inclusion in the T20 World Cup squad and said he has the capability to contribute big.
“Good to see Shoaib Malik recalled for the T20 World Cup. As a senior and experienced player, he can contribute big time for Pakistan. All the best,” Afridi tweeted.
Shoaib Malik played his last T20I match in September 2020
Malik hasn’t played for Pakistan for more than a year as he last played a T20I match against England in September 2020. But he has been a regular feature in different franchise T20 tournaments and was also part of Central Punjab’s team in the National T20 Cup.
Malik scored an unbeaten 85 against Sindh at the strike rate of 180.85 and clobbered eight fours and five sixes in his spectacular innings. Malik announced his retirement from ODI cricket after the 2019 World Cup in the United Kingdom.
Maqsood, who scored 194 runs from seven innings at the strike rate of 148.09 for Southern Punjab in the National T20 Cup, will be going under rehabilitation for his recovery. Pakistan chief selector Muhammad Wasim said it was devastating for the player to miss the prestigious global event.
“Sohaib is devastated to miss out on the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup as he had worked hard for this event and was in sparkling form. We feel for him but injuries are part and parcel of the sport. I am sure after undergoing rehabilitation, he’ll fully recover to be available for future assignments,” Wasim said in a statement.
Pakistan will start their T20 World Cup campaign against arch-rivals India on October 24 at the Dubai International Stadium.