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The 2022 Asia Cup concluded on Sunday night with Sri Lanka emerging as six times champions of the Asian continent. Pakistan’s performance – from the fielding to the batting – was pretty poor in the past couple of games. There were questions on the ability of the openers’ approach and the middle order woes. But one tweet of Shoaib Malik caused controversy about Babar Azam and his men and the selection of the players.
Last played for Pakistan in November last year against Bangladesh, Shoaib Malik’s absence has been very noticeable. Especially given how Pakistan’s middle order issues continue to be the highlight of the batting problems. Malik is infamously known for politics in cricket and with his recent tweet, fans started pointing out about his Public Relations (PR) will come for his agenda.
Malik has scored over 11 thousand runs in international cricket in his 446 international experience. He has been part of a successful winning squad in the 2009 T20 World Cup and the 2017 Champions Trophy. In Twenty20 cricket, he has been very prolific, with almost 12,000 runs across the world.
But a question arises after that tweet; Does Pakistan needs the service of Shoaib Malik? We will take a look at his performance in various conditions and his importance in the ICC matches.
Shoaib Malik: T20I Records in subcontinent vs in SENA + WI
Shoaib Malik may have been one of the most prolific scorers for Pakistan. But there’s a difference in playing on slow and low wickets as compared to fast-paced. We are going to break down Malik’s performances in the Subcontinent against SENA + West Indies.
|SENA + WI||32||622||25.46||116.75||2||57|
This clearly shows that Shoaib has issues when it comes to overseas conditions. As a middle order batter, his strike rate of just 116 is pretty poor. Normally, a middle order average does not matter but his strike rate does. Think of Glenn Maxwell or David Miller. They average around 30s but their striking is 140 and over.
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Shoaib Malik: Records in ICC event matches
This is perhaps the biggest look at Shoaib Malik’s stats. When it comes to the mega event, the player’s stats is what is highlighted. Shoaib has played over 12 ICC events; six T20 World Cups, four Champions Trophies and two Cricket World Cups.
Let’s just brush aside the one-day tournaments first. The veteran all-rounder averages just 21.81 in 24 innings he batted with a strike rate of 73 in ODI tournaments. Malik has already retired from ODIs following the 2019 CWC.
Now, for his favourite format. Overall, he has played 27 innings across six T20 WC tournaments. Excluding associate nations, he averages 32 but his strike rate is poor, a touch below 120 overall against top nations.
One more stats popped up is his style of batting in the knockout matches of the shortest format. Collectively, Malik just averages 24 with a strike rate of 98.
Does Malik deserve to play in the ICC T20 World Cup 2022?
For years, Shoiab Malik has struggled in difficult wickets while playing overseas. Across all SENA countries, he averages in mid-20s with strike rate of 116.
The T20 World Cup 2022, which will be played in Australia, will be a big ask for the veteran T20 batter to sort out his SR issues. Only one game Malik has played in T20Is in Australia where he scored three from 11 balls. In ODIs, an average of 30s and SR just above 69.
Considering his poor performances against tougher wickets and quality bowlers, and most importantly his recent tweet, it is hard to see Shoaib Malik returning to the Pakistan team anytime soon.
October 10 is the last date for the squad announcement. Before that, a T20 tri-series between New Zealand, Pakistan and Bangladesh will take place along with England playing seven T20Is in Pakistan. There’s also the National T20 Cup currently ongoing.
How this remaining one month plays out will be interesting to see.