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Malik "still very much available" to play T20Is for Pakistan

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Last updated on 30 Jan 2023 | 05:53 AM
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Malik "still very much available" to play T20Is for Pakistan

The batting all-rounder last played a T20I for Pakistan in November 2021

Shoaib Malik, who will turn 41 on February 1, might have retired from Tests and ODIs but still has the desire to represent Pakistan in T20Is. The batting all-rounder last played a T20I for Pakistan in November 2021 but believes he is still fit enough to play international cricket.

Malik, who is currently playing for Rangpur Riders in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League, has featured in 124 T20Is, scoring 2435 runs at an average of 31.21 and a strike rate of 125.64. Since 2022, Malik has appeared in leagues like BPL, PSL and LPL. He has played 37 T20s in this time frame, slamming 977 runs at an average of 34.89 and a strike rate of 135.3.

"Trust me, even though I'm the oldest in the team, you can compare my fitness with a 25-year-old. So, I guess what motivates me is I still enjoy coming to the ground and I still think that the hunger is there and until the time these two things are there, I'm gonna keep playing cricket and this is why I am not even thinking of retiring,” said Malik.

"I would like to retire from internationals and complete cricket once and for all but right now I'm not even thinking about it and I am enjoying my cricket whenever I get an opportunity I do go and play. I have already retired from Tests and ODIs, and T20s yes, I'm still very much available and wherever I get my opportunity I will give my best shot."

Malik has been in pretty form in the ongoing BPL 2023, having scored 225 runs @ 45 and a strike rate of 134.7. Najam Sethi is back at the helm of Pakistan cricket but Malik said he doesn’t care too much about who sits at the top and just wants to keep doing his job for whichever team he plays.

"I'm a cricketer and seen enough in my life now and these things don't bother me and I guess as an athlete it is a message for all athletes that when you are playing a team game don't think who is in your favour and who is not in your favour."

Malik made his T20I debut in 2006 and knows that a lot has changed since then. "Well when T20 started, I guess 130/140 runs were enough and today even 220/230 runs are not enough when you are playing on a good track. So I guess the revolution has been there and it changed a lot since T20 got started and I guess as a cricketer it is your responsibility to stay a step ahead so you can compete at a higher level and be consistent at your own game," he said.

"What I have been doing and I have been trying is to stay a step ahead so that I can meet the requirement where ever I go and play. I've been working on a couple of different varieties in my bowling. The minute a spinner comes in and bowls, every batter starts coming after that offie so I need work on some variations and I've been working on that." 

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