Match Tied (Royal Challengers Bangalore win one-over eliminator)
Shoaib Malik said he hopes a trouble-free T20I series between Pakistan and Bangladesh would persuade former skipper Mushfiqur Rahim to accompany his team during the Test matches in Karachi and Rawalpindi.
Mushfiqur decided to withdraw from Bangladesh's three T20Is in Lahore, scheduled to commence on Friday, after confirming his unavailability for the tour via a letter to the BCB.
The 32-year-old veteran revealed his family's apprehensions regarding his safety in Pakistan had compelled him to make this decision.
Talking to media personnel at the Gaddafi Stadium, Malik reasserted that Pakistan was a safe destination for international cricket and expected the forthcoming T20Is would further reinforce this idea.
“It is his [Mushfiqur's] personal decision but I will request him to come to Pakistan the next time," he said.
"I’m sure when the Bangladesh team arrives here and witnesses the top-class security arrangements and tremendous hospitality, they will convince the one or two cricketers who did not tour, to come for the Test series.”
Bangladesh's full-fledged tour to Pakistan has been divided into three stages with the 20-over games planned foremost.
They will then contest a solitary Test match after a gap of 10 days following which the Pakistan Super League will get underway with the remaining fixtures to be held subsequently in April.
Speaking from his experience of playing various T20 leagues around the world, Malik claimed he does not shy away from removing misconceptions surrounding the security conditions in Pakistan while interacting with foreign players.
“When I ply my trade in other T20 leagues, I am often asked by players about the security situation in Pakistan and I tell them we face no problems here.
"Bangladesh players also inquired about this [during the BPL] and I reassured them that there was nothing to worry about.”
Apart from the trio of uncapped players selected for Pakistan's T20I assignment against Bangladesh, the recall of Mohammad Hafeez and Malik has grabbed a lot of attention.
Malik, ranked fourth in the all-time list of leading run-getters in the format, has been out of contention for a spot in the team's T20 outfit following his poor run in the ICC World Cup last summer.
Additionally, he lost his central contract with the national side alongside Hafeez in August 2019, further diminishing his chances of a comeback.
However, Malik has refused to be drawn into a debate over securing a spot in the squad for the showpiece tournament.
"I am not thinking about the World Cup. I will try to give my best at whatever opportunity I get now. I have not set long-term goals as the World Cup is far away," the senior all-rounder stated.
"I just want to perform and help groom the youngsters in the dressing room."
Meanwhile, he hailed the Pakistan Cricket Board's focus on introducing more youngsters into the side even if that comes at the expense of his and Hafeez's exclusion from the central contract list.
“I appreciate the board’s decision to not award central contracts to me and Hafeez bhai. We have a lot of youngsters coming through.
"The management also took into account the revamped domestic structure and they have thus reduced the number of players who were given central contracts.”
Malik, who retired from ODIs after the World Cup, has not given clarity concerning his future in T20I cricket.
With Hafeez having confirmed he would be bowing out of the international arena following the global T20 event in Australia, Malik has not yet decided when he would hang his boots.
"I had said I will retire from ODI cricket after the World Cup [in 2019] and I did that and I also said I might retire completely after the T20 World Cup.
"But right now, it is about short-term goals and when the time comes I will think about it. I'm still enjoying my cricket and I don't want to make a firm statement that I will retire after the T20 World Cup."