The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced their squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup earlier this week and they chose to make it a blend of experience and youth. The side, to be led by wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed, features seasoned players like Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez besides youngsters like Saheen Afridi and Mohamad Hasnain. And the 37-year-old Malik, a batting all-rounder, has confirmed that this will be his final WC and he wants Pakistan to win it.
The veteran completes two decades in international cricket this year though he has featured in only one World Cup till date which was the 2007 edition in which the Men in Green crashed out after losing to debutants Ireland. Malik, who is the husband to Indian tennis star Sania Mirza, wants to make it count this time and help Pakistan bag their second title after 1992.
Malik, a former captain, also carried out the role of leadership of the side during the recent series against South Africa and Australia though with little success. However, the presence of players like him and Hafeez, 38, means they can guide the youngsters, having seen the highs and lows in their long careers.
A veteran of 282 ODIs and 111 T20Is, Malik has scored over 11,000 international runs and taken over 200 wickets with his off-spin. He doesn’t play Tests anymore after having played his 35th in 2015. Saj Sadiq, editor of PakPassion, quoted Malik as saying in a Twitter post: “this will be my last World Cup and I want Pakistan to win it. I believe there is a fantastic combination of young and senior players in this squad.”
Here's the tweet:
Shoaib Malik "this will be my last World Cup and I want Pakistan to win it. I believe there is a fantastic combination of young and senior players in this squad" #CWC2019— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) April 20, 2019
Pakistan will play England in an ODI series and one-off T20I before heading for the WC where they play their first game against the Windies on May 31.