Malik promises Pakistan comeback against Bangladesh

Veteran all-rounder believes team is still evolving and turning into a better unit

Malik promises Pakistan comeback against Bangladesh PHOTO: AFP

Veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik has asked former cricketers and nation to back the team ahead of all-important Super-Four match against Bangladesh in the ongoing Asia Cup. 

The Men in Green have faced severe criticism following their poor performance in the tournament so far, where they only managed to win two out of four matches.

The Green Caps have suffered two humiliating defeats against arch-rivals India by eight and nine wickets respectively, whereas one of those wins came against Afghanistan in a nail-biter, courtesy Malik’s brilliance. 

The last defeat leaves the Green Caps with one more chance to cement their place in the all-important final when they will face Mashrafe Mortaza-led unit on Wednesday.

But the 36-year-old, who is Pakistan’s leading run-scorer in the tournament so far with 181 runs at an average of 90.50, while talking to the media on Tuesday, said the team is inexperienced and needs backing at this stage. 

“Yes we are going through a tough time,” said Malik. “We’ve lost two matches against India, but that is not the end of the world. It is the time to give these players confidence. We should not forget that majority of these players are still very young. We are still evolving as a unit and I can assure you that you will see some major changes in our plans and execution in the next match.”

Talking about team’s dismal performance against India, Malik said: “Obviously lack of experience is the difference between both teams. We have to look up to the Indian team and learn from it. The way they polish their players is exemplary for all of us.”

Being the senior in this young team, Malik has more responsibility than just keeping his good form going and the 36-year-old revealed that he did share his views with the other batsmen.

“These boys are extremely talented but the much-needed experience is missing,” he said. “The just have to learn to play according to the situation and I am sure they will make a comeback in the next match.”

Discussing about the playing conditions in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Malik believes the pitches are not suited for runs in excess of 300. “These are not the pitches where team can target 300 or 350,” he said. “These are slow tracks and if you want to score big, you have to spend time in the middle.”

Talking about his own performances, Malik said that his focus is on playing according to the situation. “I don’t make things difficult for me and I don’t like putting extra pressure on myself,” he said. “I just try to play according to the demand of the situation.”

Pakistan and Bangladesh will play in the virtual semi-final in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, where the winner will face India in the final on Friday.