Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik is ready to take on the role of an opener in the forthcoming ICC Champions Trophy but wants an extended run from the team management.
"I have no problems opening the innings. I have done it before. But I don't want to be tried in this position for just two or three matches. I want to be given a proper chance for 10 to 12 matches," Malik told the media last night.
The Pakistani selectors have picked just one specialist opener, Imran Nazir, in their 15-member squad for the Champions Trophy and are preparing to try out wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and Malik in the makeshift role.
Malik insisted that opening the innings was a specialist's job and anyone doing it should have a peace of mind that he would be given a proper run to prove himself.
"If I get to open in 10 to 12 matches then I can prove myself. I will feel comfortable in the role and I can carry on opening the innings in the future also," the experienced campaigner said.
Malik said people doubting his place in the team were mistaken as he was very much in form and would also prove himself as an opener if given the challenge.
"I struggled a bit in Sri Lanka but I am not out of form and I am confident of doing well in the Champions Trophy. I am well accustomed to the conditions in South Africa," he said.
Malik who was replaced as captain by Younus Khan earlier this year after a one-day home series loss to Sri Lanka said Pakistan's batting has to click if they are to win the title.
"I know pace bowlers will have an important role to play in the tournament because of the conditions. But I know from experience that the batting is the most important thing while playing in South Africa. If our batting clicks we can win the competition," he said.
Malik said consistent batting would be the key to success in the eight-nation tournament starting from September 22.
"The team whose batsmen adjust well to the conditions in South Africa will fare well. I don't think they are any starting favorites in the tournament which is wide open as all teams are equally balanced," he said.
Malik who led Pakistan to the Twenty20 World Cup final in South Africa in 2007 said once the tournament got underway favourites would emerge.
He also disagreed that Pakistan's lack of international exposure compared to other teams before the tournament would affect its performance.
"I don't think so because we are professionals and we have been training hard. The Sri Lanka tour was a long and hard one and we are prepared for the Champions Trophy challenge," he added.
The Pakistan training camp for the tournament winds up on Wednesday with the team leaving on Thursday for Johannesburg.