Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh and former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar applauded the brilliance of all-rounder Shoaib Malik as the former skipper blasted his nation’s fastest fifty at the ongoing ICC World T20 2021 on Sunday (November 7). Veteran all-rounder Malik smashed the fastest half-century for Pakistan in T20 international cricket and the joint-fastest in this edition off just 18 balls against Scotland at the Sharjah cricket ground.
Malik, who is married to Indian tennis icon Sania Mirza, played a scintillating knock to help Babar Azam’s Pakistan crush Scotland. Taking to Twitter on Sunday, Harbhajan praised the batting masterclass of the former Pakistan skipper.
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) November 7, 2021
Fast bowling legend Akhtar also joined Harbhajan in praising ageless Malik on the microblogging site. “Shoaib Malik, 40 years young & blistering!,” Akhtar said in his tweet after Malik laid the foundation of a match-winning total for the Azam-led side against minnows Scotland at Sharjah.
Shoaib Malik, 40 years young & blistering!
— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) November 7, 2021
Playing the crucial role of a finisher, Malik played a sublime knock of 54 off just 18 balls to help Pakistan post 189-4 in the 20-over contest.
Malik said he has a ‘self-obsession’ of seeing himself fit and also revealed his disappointment at missing out on Pakistan’s initial squad which then propelled the batter to a starring role at the T20 World Cup 2021. The veteran batter, 39, struggled badly for form in the Caribbean Premier League and missed out on Misbah-ul-Haq’s initial selection for the tournament.
“I was playing on the Caribbean Premier League when they have announced the first team, and my name was not there,” he said in the post-match press conference on Sunday. “Of course I felt bad. I was very disappointed. But I`ve seen a lot of the teams where my name was not there, so of course when you’re not part of the World Cup team, then it hurts. But as a professional cricketer or as a professional athlete your goal is to talk to yourself and somehow come out from that frustration.
“I had the opportunity because I was playing in the Caribbean Premier League, and then I’ve come back, I played a domestic tournament because I still enjoy going to the ground, and that’s what keeps me going,” he added.
Shoaib hit six sixes in what was Pakistan’s fastest-ever T20I fifty and the eighth quickest of all time. It helped his side post 189 which was enough for victory, seeing them top Group 2 and set up a semi-final clash with Australia. Despite the length of his service in the international game, having made his debut in 1999, Shoaib remains one of the fittest members of his squad.
“Well, to be honest, I would say I have self-obsession of seeing myself fit when I look at it in the mirror,” he said. “Most importantly I’m still enjoying playing cricket, and it’s helping, as well, end of the day towards the team. I guess if you want to stay fit, then you’ve got to train every day, and that’s what I have been doing. I’m not sure about playing a year more or two more years. Right now I’m middle of a very important thing and not thinking about all that,” he added.
(with ANI inputs)