Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik will lead the Sialkot Stallions in their first Faysal Bank Super Eight T20 match today but missing out on the World Cup will still be on the 29-year-old’s mind. Malik, who failed to get clearance by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Integrity Committee, missed out on cricket’s showpiece event and termed that as the “biggest regret” of his career.
The 29-year-old was not included in the 30-man list of probables for the World Cup, co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. And the exclusion haunts the former captain who made his last international appearance in a Test against England last year.
“All I did was focus on the World Cup,” Malik told The Express Tribune. “It was in the subcontinent and was the perfect setting for me to shine.
“Missing it is the biggest regret of my cricketing career and I don’t feel I can get over it.”
Malik, who has played 192 One-Day Internationals (ODI) and 32 Tests along with 32 Twenty20s, said it was tough to stay away from cricket.
“I was playing consistently since 2001 and it’s very tough to just sit and watch. But it happens to everyone.
“I’m disappointed but I see myself a mature and mentally tough man now.”
All-rounder covers his deficiency
Malik, despite being experienced, said that he has struggled to play in England. The right-handed batsman has played 12 ODIs in the country and has scored 98 runs at 8.16 - a drastic dip from his career batting average of 34.35. However, Malik said that he had improved in that department.
“Most of the players from the subcontinent struggle there because we hardly have lively pitches to play on,” he said. “I admit it’s one of my weaker areas but I’ve improved.”
‘Captaincy a privilege, not burden’
Following the retirement of Inzamamul Haq, Malik was named to lead the Pakistan side with his stint lasting for two years starting 2007. He led in 36 ODIs – winning 24 and losing 12 – and ended on the losing side twice in three Tests.
“I never ever felt that it was an additional responsibility but was a privilege. Nobody is a born leader but the times when Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Inzamam were captains, it helped me.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 25th, 2011.
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