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21 years and counting...here's what keeps Malik going

Last updated on: November 08, 2021 12:46 IST
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Despite the length of his service in the international game, having made his debut in 1999, Shoaib remains one of the fittest members of his squad. It's clear that sheer vanity plays a part in him having maintained such high physical standards.

Shoaib Malik hit six sixes in what was Pakistan's fastest-ever T20I fifty and the eighth quickest of all time. 

IMAGE: Shoaib Malik hit six sixes in what was Pakistan's fastest-ever T20I fifty and the eighth quickest of all time. Photograph: ANI Photo

Shoaib Malik said he has a "self-obsession" of seeing himself fit and also revealed his disappointment at missing out on Pakistan's initial squad which then propelled the batter to a starring role at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021.

 

The veteran batter, 39, struggled badly for form in the Caribbean Premier League and missed out on Misbah-ul-Haq's initial selection for the tournament. But Malik managed to work his way back into contention and his brutal 18-ball fifty in Pakistan's 72-run win over Scotland was the ultimate statement of intent.

"I was playing on the Caribbean Premier League when they had announced the first team, and my name was not there.  Of course, I felt bad. I was very disappointed. But I've seen a lot of the teams where my name was not there, so of course when you're not part of the World Cup team, then it hurts. But as a professional cricketer or as a professional athlete your goal is to talk to yourself and somehow come out from that frustration," he said in the post-match press conference on Sunday.

"I had the opportunity because I was playing in the Caribbean Premier League, and then I've come back, I played a domestic tournament because I still enjoy going to the ground, and that's what keeps me going."

Shoaib hit six sixes in what was Pakistan's fastest-ever T20I fifty and the eighth quickest of all time. It helped his side post 189 which was enough for victory, seeing them top Group 2 and set up a semi-final clash with Australia in Dubai on Thursday.

Asked if his unbeaten team is wary of the Aussies, Malik acknowledged it wouldn't an easy match.

"Of course, we have seen Australia, the way they have been playing. They have been playing really good cricket, so are we. But, of course, it's going to be a tough challenge for both the teams," said Malik after scoring his first half-century in an ICC event since the 2009 Champions Trophy.

"It's another game, then I guess the other batters have made plans, execute and just take it as another game,” said the former Pakistan captain.

Despite the length of his service in the international game, having made his debut in 1999, Shoaib remains one of the fittest members of his squad. It's clear that sheer vanity plays a part in him having maintained such high physical standards.

"Well, to be honest, I would say I have self-obsession of seeing myself fit when I look at it in the mirror," he said.

"Most importantly I'm still enjoying playing cricket, and it's helping, as well, end of the day towards the team. I guess if you want to stay fit, then you've got to train every day, and that's what I have been doing. I'm not sure about playing a year more or two more years. Right now, I'm middle of a very important thing and not thinking about all that," he added.

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