KARACHI: Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik believes that persisting with a set bunch of players is the reason behind team’s success in T20I cricket. The Men in Green have won 11 T20I series in a row under captain Sarfraz Ahmed which also keeps them on top of the International Cricket Council’s official T20I rankings, Daily Times has reported.
Malik, who is the mainstay in Pakistan’s middle-order, believes positive result is because the same players are playing together for a long period time. “The reason behind team success is that we have not made many changes in the side over the past couple of years,” Malik said in an interview. “This has made us a well-knit unit and brought consistency in our performances on the field.”
Speaking about his below-par performance during the recently concluded T2OI series against New Zealand and Australia, Malik said: “My performance was not up to the mark but you have to understand there is very little opportunity in T20 cricket. As long as the overall team performance is satisfactory, I’m not too worried about my own form.” Malik also brushed aside the change in his batting order as a reason behind his string of low scores. “I don’t think that the change in batting order had an impact on my performance,” he said. “Change in batting position has little impact in T20I and ODI cricket as compared to Test cricket so I’m not too bothered about it.”
The 36-year-old also stressed on the importance of senior players helping out the captain and youngsters in the side. “I, along with Mohammad Hafeez, try to help out the youngsters and captain by sharing our experience on the field which aids their grooming process,” he said. “There is already a lot of pressure on the captain so it is important that the senior players in the side help him out whenever possible.”
Malik also cited lack of experience as a possible factor behind team’s average performances in ODI cricket. “I feel the lack of experience, because it’s a young side, is the reason behind our slightly below par performance in ODI cricket,” he said. “But I still believe, if we continue with the same set of players, that when this team reaches the 2019 World Cup, the players will have enough experience under their belt to put up a good show.”
The Sialkot-born also shared his desire to continue playing the shortest format of the game till the 2020 World T20 but also made it clear that he won’t be a burden on the side. “My goal is to continue playing T2OI cricket till the World T20 in 2020 but that does not mean that I won’t reconsider my decision if I feel that I’ve become a liability on the side,” he said.
“As long as I’m fielding in hotspot positions in the field, I am confident that I’m adding value to the side. But as soon as that does not happen, I will step away from the game.” Malik also believes that Indo-Pak sporting ties must resume while also highlighting the need to resolve visa issues between the two countries. “I’m in favour of resumption of Indo-Pak cricketing ties as it is an eagerly awaited series for both fans and cricketers,” he said. “I want to say the same about other sports involving both countries while also resolving visa issues faced by people who have relatives on other side of the border.”