IPL: Indian Premier League 2009

Shoaib Malik gets backing despite lacklustre performance



Pakistan’s out-of-form batsman Shoaib Malik dropped from the playing line-up from the final one-day match against England here on Sunday got a word of support from one of the country’s batting legends.

Team manager Zaheer Abbas, one of the finest batsmen of his era, said he would still put his money on Shoaib Malik in spite of the fact that the opener scored at a poor average of four runs in his last four ODI outings. “Shoaib is a talented batsman with a good temperament. His only problem is that is going through a bad patch in his form, something that happens to all batsmen. I am sure he would overcome it soon,” said Zaheer.

Shoaib struggled throughout the one-day series to find the sort of form that earned him the reputation of being one of the most prolific Pakistani middle order batsmen in recent times.

He missed the Test series against England earlier this summer because of a knee problem after making a promising start to the tour with an unbeaten 110 against Leicestershire in Leicester that helped Pakistan win the three-day warm-up game by eight wickets at the start of the marathon tour. But he had to return home just before the opening Test at Lord’s because of a recurring ankle problem and took several weeks to recover from it but in the process lost his form.

The Sialkot-based all-rounder began positively with a 15 ball 16 in a Twenty20 game at Bristol on August 28 but has since scored just 16 more runs from four ODI outings. His scores in the series include 5 at the Sophia Gardens, 10 at Lord’s, 1 at the Rose Bowl and a duck at Trent Bridge.

It was his dismal ouster in the fourth one-dayer when he handed a straight forward catch to left-arm spinner Michael Yardy that finally prompted the Pakistani team management to replace him with Imran Farhat for the last one-dayer here at Edgbaston.

Shoaib is a part of Pakistan’s squad for next month’s ICC Champions Trophy in India.

Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer believes that Shoaib’s run drought is a result of match practice. “It is very difficult in one-day cricket to find form in without enough match practice,” he said.
Source:The News

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