We are fully united: Shoaib MalikNovember 9th, 2008 - 3:14 pm ICT by IANS
Karachi, Nov 9 (IANS) Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik declared Sunday the national team is united behind him ahead of a three-match One-day International series against the West Indies in Abu Dhabi from Wednesday.Speaking to reporters here at the Jinnah Terminal just before the team’s departure to Abu Dhabi, Malik said that the players were fully ready for the series and will go all out to register a comprehensive victory against the West Indies.
“The team is completely united and the boys are itching to take the field against the West Indies,” said the 26-year-old all-rounder at the helm of a 15-man strong squad that includes comeback pacer Shoaib Akhtar.
There have been reports in recent times that senior players are unhappy with Malik’s captaincy. Such reports gained weight recently when senior batsman Mohammad Yousuf alleged that Malik’s disrespectful treatment towards him was one of the major reasons why he joined the unofficial Indian Cricket League (ICL).
At a two-day camp that concluded in Karachi Saturday, new team coach Intikhab Alam was mostly busy in sorting out the differences between Malik and some of the senior players At one of the team meetings senior all-rounder Shahid Afridi and Shoaib openly expressed their displeasure at Malik’s handling of senior players.
However, Intikhab later told reporters that all such differences have been sorted out in the greater interest of the team. Malik echoed those views, saying there was greater understanding between him and the players.
He said the series against the West Indies was an important one as it comes before the home assignment against India in Jan-Feb next year.
“We want to do well in Abu Dhabi to raise our morale ahead of the though series against India,” said Malik.
India is scheduled to arrive in Pakistan early in January to play three Tests in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Lahore besides featuring in five ODIs and a Twenty20 International.
Malik said that return of Shoaib was a good sign for Pakistan and hoped that fast bowler would shine in Abu Dhabi.
“He (Shoaib) is a great fast bowler and his return will inspire the younger players in the team,” said Malik.
Shoaib last played in an ODI in November last year against India in Gwalior. He returned to the Pakistan team last month for a four-nation Twenty20 event in Toronto but was unable to impress much. However, his fans are hoping for a better showing from the Rawalpindi Express following his improved performance in a couple of domestic four-day games.