Malik likely to play against India, hints Sarfaraz

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Shoaib Malik. Pic PCB

Contrarary to common notion that Pakistan will leave out senior batsman Shoaib Malik from playing eleven against India, team skipper has hinted out that they may go with senior pro.

Sarfaraz Ahmed has hinted that the veteran batsman Shoaib Malik will play against India in Manchester on June 16 despite him being badly out of form.

“Shoaib Malik is our senior player and I am sure a good innings from him is just around the corner, hopefully in the India game,” Sarfaraz wrote in his column after the defeat against Australia in Taunton.

The veteran batsman’s performance has been under the scrutiny since he was selected in the squad ahead of Abid Ali and Mohammad Rizwan, the two batsmen and reserve wicket-keepers.

In 27 innings in ODIs in the United Kingdom, Malik has only one score in excess of 50 which was in a dead-rubber game against England in Cardiff in 2016. His ODI average in the UK has fallen to 13.57, the lowest for any frontline batsman in history who has played at least 20 innings.

Malik was dropped from the tournament opener against West Indies but made a return in the second game against England in Nottingham where he scored just 8 runs and took one wicket for 10 runs. He followed it with a duck against Australia in Pakistan’s pursuit of 308 in Taunton which has brought his average in 2019 down to 22.72.

Pakistan have often considered Malik because of his good record against India and that will play in their minds ahead of the marquee clash at the Old Trafford. Malik averages 48.16 against India and has scored 4 centuries but that average since 2010 has come down to 33.37 with only one 50-plus score in 9 innings against the arch-rivals.

Surprisingly, Haris Sohail who scored two centuries against Australia in the UAE this year and has scored 368 runs at an average of 52.57 in 2019 was not considered when Pakistan looked to strengthen the batting after a poor show in their first match against West Indies.

After the batting collapse in Nottingham where the team was bundled out for 105, Pakistan decided to bring Malik in the XI at the expense of a bowler.