Shoaib Malik hits back at Wasim Akram

Barnaby Read 21:47 21/09/2016
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Malik carries Babar Azam off the field against England.

Akram was commentating on Pakistan’s tour of England when he highlighted a perceived lack of leadership by Malik.

“Look at Shoaib Malik, he has really disappointed me, he goes to third man in the field and stands out there,” Akram said during commentary.

“His job as a senior player should be to talk to the bowlers, help his captain and I have not seen that happening at all. From the outside he has looked disinterested and not very keen for most of the series.”

Ahead of Pakistan’s T20I series with the West Indies in Dubai this weekend, Malik was asked what he thought of Akram’s comments.

“You have to talk about something [when commentating]. When you don’t, you have to come up with something which attracts the people who are listening to you,” Malik said.

“I totally disagree with his statement but I respect him a lot. I would not expect these comments from a legend. I am sure he will realise and come up with something positive instead for Pakistan cricketers and Pakistan.”

Malik, a renowned master of media spin himself, seemed every bit the senior member of the side in front of the press at ICC Academy.

Malik talked up the recent performances of Imad Wasim and expressed his confidence in the young spinner.

Often seen as a man with an agenda and eyes fixed on the one-day captaincy, Malik is often made the scapegoat by media and fans in Pakistan.

But here, he was every inch the team player.

He stated his desire to bat wherever in the order his captain needed him, having been dropped for the fourth ODI in England after a woeful run at number six before scoring 77 batting at four in the final ODI of the series, a match Pakistan won.

“I am one of those who has batted in all the top order. I think the team comes first so wherever the team needs me I am always up for that number,” he said.

For now, Malik has his sights firmly set on bringing an end to another identity problem, his history of following up innings of brilliance with those that underwhelm.

“I think being consistent is something that was missing but I’m trying my best to be consistent. If I’m consistent, that helps the team and I think that’s where I’m practicing the most,” added Malik.

Inconsistency is a term that has long been associated with Pakistan cricket, with the team remaining true to that form in recent years with controversy and in-fighting.

Under Mickey Arthur, however, there is hope of a new dawn for cricket in Pakistan.

A long winter of cricket ahead will be the acid test but there is no question that optimism is growing. Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq was presented with the ICC’s Test number one mace on Wednesday and a series win against West Indies would perfectly kickstart Pakistan’s winter.

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