A veteran of 428 international matches, 37-year-old Shoaib Malik is heading towards the final stages of his cricket career and nothing would please him more than a World Cup winners medal before he calls it a day. An international career that spans nearly 20 years means that Shoaib Malik made his ODI debut before fellow World Cup squad members Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mohammad Hasnain were born.
A former skipper, a man who has seen it all, Malik has been there for the highs and lows of Pakistan cricket over the years. A member of the 2009 World Twenty20 squad that lifted the title at Lord's and also a member of the 2017 Champions Trophy squad that lifted the trophy at The Oval, Malik has been an integral and important part of Pakistan's ICC Trophy wins. Cool, calm and calculated are some of the qualities used to describe Malik and nothing seems to faze him. His experience and personality has been vital for Pakistan in recent times especially as he is a senior member of a largely youthful squad. He will be the first to admit that his form of-late has not been great, so much so that some were calling for him to be axed from the Pakistan World Cup squad.
However, Mickey Arthur has a deep respect for Shoaib Malik and considers his experience as vital for the youthful and inexperienced squad selected for this year's World Cup. Still able to clear the rope especially against the spinners, bowl some important overs for the skipper when much-needed and inspirational in the field, Malik's an important cog in the Pakistan ODI wheel and whilst his best cricketing years are behind him, Malik still has the capability to grab any match by the scruff of the neck and lead Pakistan to victory.
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