Malik’s term likely to be extended as Pakistan captain

December 30th, 2008 - 2:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Dec 30(IANS) Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik’s two-year tenure ends Wednesday but according to media reports the 26-year-old all-rounder is all set to be retained as skipper for the whole of 2009. According to a report Tuesday, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is all set to extend Malik’s stint after his fine showing in the team’s last few matches of 2008 and in a couple of domestic competitions.

Malik has the backing of Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam, who feels he is the right man for the job.

“Just months after being rejected as a weak and uninspiring captain by several former Test cricketers, Malik has achieved a remarkable recovery and now most experts want him to carry on as skipper,” said a report in The News, a leading Pakistan daily.

PCB chief Ijaz Butt made it public last month that the governing board will decide in January whether Malik would continue as captain.

But he had also declared that much will depend on how Malik performs both as captain and the team’s all-rounder in November’s three-match ODI series against the West Indies in Abu Dhabi.

Malik led Pakistan to a 3-0 triumph in the series and contributed both with bat and ball. Earlier this month, Malik spearheaded the Punjab Stallions to a title-winning triumph in the Pentangular Cup One-day Championship.

Recently, former Pakistan captain Moin Khan also joined the chorus of praise for Malik, saying that Pakistan cannot afford to have anybody else at the helm of their team at this point of time.

“Malik has developed into a good captain and I believe he is now the best man to lead Pakistan,” said Moin.

Just weeks after taking over as Pakistan coach last month, Intikhab made it clear that he wants Malik to continue as captain. “I am crystal clear in my mind that Malik should continue as captain,” he said.

His comments were in stark to contrast to the remarks he made just weeks before taking over as the Pakistan coach when he pointed out that Pakistan did not “have captaincy stuff in the present lot” and suggested Shahid Afridi as a potential candidate.

Malik has played 35 Tests and scored 1076 runs besides accumulating 4665 runs from 170 ODI appearances in which he has also picked up 125 wickets.

He took over as Pakistan captain soon after it crashed out of the 2007 World Cup under the captaincy of Inzamam-ul-Haq. With Malik as captain, Pakistan lost back-to-back Test series against South Africa and India but reached the final of the inaugural World Twenty20 Championships in South Africa last September.

He also led Pakistan to 18 wins in 21 ODI games in 2008 - a year when Pakistan did not play a single Test. However, most of the one-day wins were achieved against lower-ranked teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

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