LAHORE (Monitoring Desk): Veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik believes Pakistan’s limited-overs captain Babar Azam needs to take a leaf out of Indian captain Virat Kohli’s book and support his players in order to get the best out of them. While speaking in an exclusive interview with Cricket Pakistan, Malik advised the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to give full authority to Babar so that he can take strong decisions.
“Now he [Babar] is a captain in two formats and I hope he succeeds. My best wishes are always with him,” said Malik. “At the same time, he needs to support his players and make a pool of cricketers. Like Virat Kohli, Babar should fully back his players so that they fight for him on the field and he becomes a great captain. This way, players won’t be insecure of losing their place after one or two bad performances.”
“When you make someone a captain then give them power because captain runs the entire show. It is a good decision by PCB to make him captain for long term. He needs to be given full authority so that he makes his own team,” he added. Malik continued to heap praise on Lahore-born batsman’s work ethic and urged the youngsters to follow in the latter’s footsteps.
“I am a fan of Babar Azam. I like his work ethic a lot. Babar doesn’t stray away from his work ethic despite being surrounded by a negative culture. His story can be inspiring for upcoming youngsters. I feel very proud when he gets praise from all over the world,” he said. The 38-year, who bid farewell to One-day Internationals (ODIs) after the 2019 World Cup, also reiterated that he has no immediate plans to retire from the shortest format of the game.
“I am fit, performing and still enjoying my cricket. I can help youngsters with my experience. I am not planning to retire from T20 cricket yet. During PSL, I said that I will think about retirement close to the T20 World Cup, but I have not yet given it a thought,” he said. “I still have two-year contract with a couple of leagues so I will definitely continue playing T20 leagues. Once we get through this pandemic, I will take a decision on T20 Internationals after discussing it with PCB, coach and the captain.”
Malik is not disappointed after missing out on the central contract for 2020/21 season and has backed the PCB’s decision to prefer youngsters in the list. “In my personal opinion, this is a good step by PCB to give central contracts to youngsters, who can represent Pakistan for a long period of time instead of two seniors,” he said.
The Sialkot-born all-rounder is not too concerned about the prolonged break due to Covid-19 lockdown as he believes players will eventually get back to their full potential. “Initially, players will be rusty but eventually they will get back in rhythm. If you look at the German football league, players were struggling in the initial matches but now they are in full flow,” he concluded.