Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik said he is fine with tainted left-arm pacer Muhammad Amir making a comeback to the national team and he would not have any problem playing alongside him.
When asked if he will have a problem if Amir is pitted in the national team with him, Malik said: “Not at all, actually I’m fond of him and I always feel like acting like an elder brother (senior) to him when he is around, and this has been the case since he first joined the team.
“He is a good boy. I know you are asking me this question because of the mistake Amir made in the past or the comments a few players might have made, or probably both. They are both wrong in my opinion, but then who am I to judge? Judging is for Allah alone and He teaches me to forgive, as forgiving is a sign of Godliness and He loves forgiving,” added Malik.
Amir, in his first international assignment after coming out of the five-year ban for spot-fixing, took 14 wickets for the Chittagong Vikings with an economy rate of 5.56 in the recently concluded Bangladesh Premier League.
Owing to Amir’s heroics on foreign soil, PCB chairman Shahyrar Khan said that he is knocking on the doors of a recall and Malik believes he will respect the move.
“What Amir did was wrong, and the authorities at the time decided the punishment for him. At that time there were voices asking to let him go since he was young and naive but no consideration was given to this point. I respected that. And now if the authorities feel that Mohammad Amir and Salman Butt have served their time and should be back in the team, I will also respect tha,” said Malik.
Future goals and captaincy
Malik, who has represented Pakistan in 35 Tests and 231 ODIs, said he still has a lot of goal to achieve and he is not mulling over retirement.
“Oh I have lots of goals! I want to improve my records, all of them. I want to be a utility player, a player who helps his team win in most if not all games,” said Malik.
“I want to learn more by playing with better cricketers and challenging teams. I’m thinking about all those things, but have no thoughts on retirement at all.”
The 33-year-old also said that he will happily accept the captain’s role, in fact any role in the team, whenever it is required of him.
“I have never declined [captaincy] nor will ever do in the future, any opportunity that comes my way to serve Pakistan,” said Malik.
“Whether it is to play Test matches in the past or to bat at number 10 or to open the innings, or open the bowling, I have always stepped up to the plate and InshAllah, I will always be there for my country.”
Limited overs dilemma
Malik also highlighted the problems with Pakistan’s limited overs teams.
“There is nothing wrong with the current Pakistan ODI and T20I teams. Of course as always, there is no end to the debate on who might have been a better captain in a particular series or which player was selected based on what criteria, or was dropped based on belonging to a particular town and so on,” explained Malik.
“Possibly the better question to ask, perhaps, is about the issues confronting Pakistan cricket in general and maybe then we can understand how it effects our performance in ODIs and T20Is in particular.
“Put simply, barring the Zimbabwe series we simply haven’t played enough international cricket at home in recent times – that’s it. I’m sure you know there were only two or three players in the squad who had played international cricket at home when the Zimbabwe series was organized. This is mind-boggling and quite incredible!
“Playing international teams at home adds so much to a player’s development and skills. A player is able to learn a lot about cricket and about himself. This is mainly due to the fact that one is able to focus on one’s game without having to adapt to alien weather and pitch conditions or worrying about a foreign social environment.
“Expecting a team with inexperienced players to go out and adapt to a foreign environment and build skills while playing there, and cope with the added pressure of performing and also expect them at times to play heroic match-winning innings is grossly unfair.
“We need international cricket back home as soon as possible. It will bring joy to our people and happiness to our youth and do wonders for the young members of the national team.”
Shoaib Malik was interviewed by PakPassion