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'Kept playing leagues and domestic cricket to keep myself motivated' - Shoaib Malik
Pakistan News

'Kept playing leagues and domestic cricket to keep myself motivated' - Shoaib Malik

Shoaib Malik admitted his periodic axing from the team tended to take a toll on his playing career but he braved the negative thoughts by engaging himself in several T20 stints around the globe.

Malik was at the forefront of Pakistan's successful chase on a slow surface at the Gaddafi Stadium in the T20I series opener against Bangladesh.

Having been recalled to the side in a desperate attempt to bolster Pakistan's middle-order, Malik calmly operated on a pitch where it was difficult to score and nudged his way towards another half-century in the format.

Making a massive impact on his latest return to the national side, Malik conceded his exclusion from the team and constant bickering sometimes dampened his spirits but he channeled his frustration on the cricket ground.

"It's difficult when people say things about you but at the same time, you need to focus on your surroundings and be surrounded by positive people," he told reporters in Lahore.

"You require a lot of encouragement to make a comeback. It's tough to be in and out of the team but I have been playing leagues and domestic cricket to keep myself motivated.

"You have to take your frustration out somewhere and for an athlete, that's the ground."

A brief look at the 37-year-old veteran's busy schedule post-World Cup verifies Malik's claims of always being in the action.

The senior all-rounder led Vancouver Knights into the final of the Global T20 Canada before spearheading a remarkable 11-match winning streak with Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Caribbean Premier League.

He also shortly appeared in the National T20 Cup and collected a single cap for Jozi Stars in the Mzansi Super League. He was most recently a part of the victorious Rajshahi Royals in the Bangladesh Premier League following which he received a call-up to Pakistan's T20 outfit.

With a stellar performance under his belt in the first game back in national colours, Malik was once again quick to deny thinking about securing a spot for the T20 World Cup.

"I have said before that I am not focused on the T20 World Cup. My only goal right now is to maintain consistency."

"The World Cup is quite far away and it is not a priority for me currently."

'We need to give Misbah time'

Despite Pakistan's five-wicket win in the first contest against Bangladesh, concerns persist regarding head coach-cum-chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq's strategies.

His long-term planning has come under the scanner, especially with the recall of Malik and Mohammad Hafeez. However, Malik believed the former skipper was still learning in his new post and asked Pakistan supporters to back him.

Also Read: Five challenges Misbah-ul-Haq will have to grapple with

"In this world, there is no person who can say I have learned everything. Even Sachin Tendulkar and so many other successful people couldn't say that. I believe that your learning process never ceases," he stated.

"We go after people very quickly and want instant results. We should show some patience. If someone gets a chance, we should give him time and should support him."

Malik was keen to elucidate his role in the team as an experienced campaigner tasked with guiding the younger lot.

He was chuffed with debutant Ahsan Ali's valuable contribution to Pakistan's win on an abrasive surface and heralded it as a great sign for the team's future prospects.

"An experienced player's main responsibility is to groom youngsters. I can understand the kind of feelings a debutant goes through as I started my career in 1999.

"Ahsan showed so much confidence and my partnership with him was a turning point in the chase, so credit goes to him. His maturity in the middle after the loss of early wickets was a key part of the win and this is a good sign for Pakistan cricket."