PAKISTAN batsman Shoaib Malik addresses reporters on Wednesday.—INP
PAKISTAN batsman Shoaib Malik addresses reporters on Wednesday.—INP

LAHORE: The most-capped current T20 player Shoaib Malik said on Wednesday his target is not the shortest format’s World Cup this year but the series against Bangladesh.

Talking to media at the Gaddafi Stadium, the former Pakistan captain said there is no point in looking far ahead.

”First of all World Cup is still a long way off and my focus is on the things which are just round the corner. I want to make contributions for Pakistan against Bangladesh in the coming and groom the youngsters,” Malik told reporters. “I am not disappointed at limiting myself for the Bangladesh series because I still believe a lot can change in the period leading to the World Cup. I am positive person and not feel insecure.”

Asked his earlier mission was to play 2020 World Cup, Malik, , veteran of 111 matches, scoring 2263 runs at averages 30.58, said: ”The 2020 World Cup is my target but I don’t want to make it a final statement. I will make a decision when I will go closer to it.”

Asked to comment on reports whether Pakistan T20 skipper Babar Azam played a big role in the selection of him and Mohammad Hafeez, Malik said: ”There may be different views over my selection but at the end every decision is taken with mutual understanding. If someone is not backing you then you have to prove yourself by giving best performance.”

To a question, Shoaib said Bangladesh was looking a strong outfit, quite able to give good fight to Pakistan.

LAHORE: Pakistan players attend a practice session at the Gaddafi Stadium on Wednesday, ahead of the T20 International series against Bangladesh.—APP
LAHORE: Pakistan players attend a practice session at the Gaddafi Stadium on Wednesday, ahead of the T20 International series against Bangladesh.—APP

“I played in the Bangladesh Premier League recently and saw a good combination of senior and junior emerging in their set up. Their system has become strong and a well-balanced side is coming to Pakistan,” Malik remarked. “Pakistan have less number of experienced cricketers in Test and one-day format but in T20 we have good number of players. I and Hafeez are both experienced players, so our responsibility is much bigger because not only we have to perform but also maintain a good environment in the dressing room.”

He admitted that his performance in the last 50-over World Cup was not good but he was performing in the T20 format. He said the selectors ignored him for the last two years, because they were trying different combinations.

Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2020