Despite the tours of World XI & Zimbabwe recently, Pakistan cricket fans still felt that International cricket was still not entirely back in the country. But after the third & final match of the T-20 series being held in Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium, it’s safe to say Pakistan has seen thehe return of International cricket in their own backyard. And one person in particular is absolutely elated by it. Veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik, adjudged both the man of the match in the 3rd one & the man of the series, believes that they’ve sent a good & positive message to the world.
Malik said, “When you play before [at] your own ground, when you enter the ground you feel too much happiness and you can’t describe that feeling. I am blessed that my comeback also came here in Lahore. We have sent a good message across the world, the team which was attacked (came) and it’s a positive signal. The kind of hospitality they got was tremendous. Congratulations to the whole nation.”
Pakistan has been nothing short of brilliant in limited overs recently. After bagging the Champions Trophy in June, Pakistan went on to blank Sri Lanka 5-0 in the recently concluded ODI series and backed that performance up with another whitewash in the T20Is. Malik praised the consistency of his teammates & credited the board for selecting good players: “Consistency is the main thing,” Malik pointed out. You select the right talent and then back them with consistent chances. The selection committee is giving consistent chances. Spots are not fixed in the eleven but the squad is more or less the same. This team has unity and the boys are doing well, they back each other and even lift the seniors as well.”
Lastly, Malik was extremely grateful to the board for bringing the sport back to the country: “We must think not only (about) cricket (but) other sports are not held (as well). PCB is taking it step by step and everyone is doing that with unity. First Zimbabwe came and then a World XI with big names and hope that it continues.”
At the age of 35, Malik is looking younger than ever & has expressed his desire to win a 50-over World Cup before going into retirement: “That’s why I come to the ground every morning. We don’t know about tomorrow but the goal is to win and a World Cup is missing from my honour. I don’t have words to show my desire but I request (you) to pray for me.”