KARACHI: Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik has said that he is ready to fill the gap of an off-spinner left in the team after Muhammad Hafeez was banned from bowling.
West Indies will face Pakistan in the first of three-match T20I series on Sunday at the National Stadium of Karachi, and Malik, who is currently the most experienced player in the team, says he is ready to serve Sarfraz and co in any way possible.
“I have been working on both bowling and batting since a very long time,” said Malik. “I haven’t left bowling and have also bowled whenever asked to do so. If the team management thinks that I should bowl then I will.”
The 36-year-old said he has always tried to deliver his best when he has been assigned a role by the team management. “The team management has always considered me as an all-rounder and I will be playing as one in the upcoming series [against West Indies],” he said. “I will bowl, field and bat for Pakistan whenever needed.”
On role as a senior player
Malik, whose pep talk after the India thrashing in last year’s Champions Trophy opener changed the fortunes of Pakistan team as the Men in Green went on to win the silverware, says a senior player has the responsibility to buckle up juniors in the face of adversity.
“I always try to give confidence, motivate and share my experience with the young players,” he explained. “The role of a senior player is always to motivate the youngsters and play their part well for the team.”
Malik then praised some youngsters for displaying maturity as such a young age. “I have seen some good players in the team who have the foresight. Players like Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman and Muhammad Nawaz are the future of Pakistan and I try to help them whenever they need me,” he said.
He continued by further highlighting the responsibilities of senior players in the team. “We, being the senior players, just have to keep on motivating them even if they fail. We should not let their confidence wither. They have the potential and playing on home ground and in the national team surely has more pressure than PSL, so they will be tested and should be groomed,” said Malik.
‘Selecting youngsters is appreciable’
Players like Hussain Talat, Asif Ali and Shaheen Shah Afridi were added into the Pakistan squad for the West Indies T20Is after their good showing in the recently concluded Pakistan Super League (PSL), and Malik welcomes the step.
“When the team is not under any pressure during the match, juniors should be sent in to gain experience and in crunch situations, the seniors should take responsibility and ease the pressure on the team,” he said.
He added that the best learning is learning on the job and youngsters should be given a chance to prove themselves. “Winning and losing is part of the game, but we should keep on giving juniors and young talent a chance to groom themselves. The more they will play, the more they will be groomed,” he said.
He concluded by clarifying that West Indies might not be bringing big names, but their potential to win should not be written off. “I have played in the Caribbean Premier League and I have seen all these players playing there. They have a lot of talent and ability to hit big. They also have a good combination. Big names don’t matter. If any team plays as a unit, they can win easily.”
West Indies will play three T20Is on the trot in Karachi starting from Sunday.