Out-of-favour all-rounder Shoaib Malik on Sunday, September 11 put out a cryptic tweet, seemingly take a jibe at his exclusion from the Asia Cup squad after Pakistan lost the final of the continental tournament to Sri Lanka by 23 runs in Dubai.
Shoib Malik, who played a key role in Pakistan’s run to the T20 World Cup 2021 semi-final, last played for the senior national team in November 2021. The 40-year-old has been in good form in the National T20 Cup wherein he recently scored a half-century for Central Punjab.
Notably, Shoaib’s omission from the Asia Cup squad helped raise quite a few eyebrows as the veteran all-rounder had been consistently performing in the middle-overs for Pakistan and other teams he had been playing in T20 leagues across the globe.
Pakistan lost the Asia Cup final despite seizing early advantage by winning the toss and opting to bowl in Dubai, a venue where chasing teams have won more often than not. However, Pakistan failed to chase 171, getting bowled out for 147 in 20 overs.
Barring Mohammad Rizwan, who scored a 49-ball 55, and Iftikhar Ahmed, who hit 32, none of the other Pakistan batters made a significant contribution. Pakistan’s middle-order failed once again as they lost their last 6 wickets for just 37 runs.
When will we come out from friendship, liking & disliking culture? Allah always helps the honest,” Malik tweeted.
Former Pakistan wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal responded to the tweet, saying: “Ustad G don’t be this much honest.”
Check tweet Click
Quite a few fans responded to Shoiab Malik’s Twitter post, saying Pakistan lacked experience in the middle-order and depended heavily on the top-order of Rizwan and Babar Azam. Unfortunately, Babar had a forgettable campaign in the UAE, scoring 68 runs in 6 matches in Asia Cup 2022.
Notably, Babar had ruled out the comeback of Malik after the all-rounder was snubbed from the Asia Cup squad, saying youngsters of the likes of Iftikhar, Khushdil Shah and Asif Ali will get the backing in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup;
“When senior players leave the side, those replacing them need focus. (Mohammad) Hafeez and Malik were huge players and we’ll miss them a lot, and players like Asif Ali, Khushdil Shah and Iftikhar (Ahmed) need to fill their boots,” Babar had said in August
We want to give them plenty of matches and confidence, and these players have performed.”
Babar’s Pakistan are expected to announce their squad for the T20 World Cup in the coming week.