'You can compare my fitness with a 25-year-old': Pakistan veteran says he is 'not even thinking about retirement'
The veteran was an integral part of Pakistan's campaign in the 2021 T20 World Cup.
Pakistan cricket seems to be in a state of flux with the country's cricket board's management changing and even talk of Babar Azam's status as captain of the team in all formats being in danger. It has also opened avenues for players who could not previously make it to the main team to hold hopes.
Pakistan had put up a strong showing in the 2021 T20 World Cup before being knocked out in the semi-finals by eventual champions Australia and veteran players Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik were an important part of the squad. While Hafeez retired shortly after the end of the tournament, Shoaib continues to play franchise cricket and the 40-year-old has said that he still harbours hopes of playing for Pakistan.
“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,” Malik, who is playing for Rangpur Riders in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League, told reporters at the Sylhet International Stadium.
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“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 but in T20s, I’m still very much available and wherever I get my opportunity I will give my best shot.”
Malik said that his hopes are based only on his abilities and is not affected by the changes happening in Pakistan cricket. “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 noted. The former Pakistan captain had made his debut for Pakistan in an ODI against the West Indies in October 1999. He has played 124 T20Is, scoring 2435 runs at a strike rate of 125.64 and 287 ODIs scoring 7534 runs at an average of 34.55 with 9 centuries. Shoaib also played 35 Test matches, scoring 1898 runs at an average of 35.14 with three centuries. He was Pakistan's captain in the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, where they lost in the final against India.