Pakistan cricket has by no means been about openers. The primary and two barely ever stick. Hark again all the way in which to 1952 — when Pakistan performed its first Check – and also you’d discover a choose few opening batsmen who have been dependable sufficient to make their title. Hanif Mohammad and Saeed Anwar — however who else?
Openers simply don’t do it in Pakistani shirts. Which implies that no matter run piling will get performed is finished within the middle-order. Make an inventory of high quality quantity 3-6 batsmen simply from the 90s to the current occasions, and there will probably be loads of names — if not a humiliation of riches.
Javed Miandad, Inzamamul Haq, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Misbahul Haq — to this listing you may as well add some from the present period similar to Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali and even the younger stud Babar Azam.
There may be one title you’ll doubtless overlook for positive — that’s of Saleem Malik.
Malik — the unique Malik — was the mainstay of Pakistani batting for practically twenty years. He averaged 43.70 in Assessments (11th highest amongst locals) and a shade below 33 in ODIs — nothing extraordinary however wholesome sufficient for his occasions.
However whilst you would keep in mind the entire different middle-order geniuses and Azhar Alis, you wouldn’t keep in mind Malik.
When he was banned in 2000, he was already 37. It’s extensively believed that no matter he did was a minimum of on par with a number of others — particularly a sure left-arm fast — however Malik was exemplified as his profession had already run its course.
Within the 20 years since, Malik had largely disappeared till previous pal Inzi pled his case not too long ago, which introduced him again in headlines.
Malik, who he was and what he batted like, has largely been forgotten however even those that know who he’s, have no idea that his life ban was overturned a decade in the past. Regardless of being vindicated and having suffered sufficient, Malik stays a persona non grata within the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), and for good motive.
There have been experiences which prompt that even after his 2000 ban, he nonetheless had conferences with folks he shouldn’t have met. Upon the ICC and PCB’s inquiries, he didn’t reply — indicators of a person who had not learnt his lesson.
Phrase additionally has it that the PCB is laying the groundwork to rehabilitate him in a bid to accommodate him someplace within the setup, which is why he issued a public apology not too long ago.
That is the place the issue is.
Even in the event you slide previous the argument that ex-cons shouldn’t be discriminated in opposition to and that Malik has been by means of sufficient, the very fact stays that cricket of his period and this period are vastly totally different. Not like the Wasim Akrams and Ramiz Rajas, Malik has not remained within the recreation since his retirement. He couldn’t.
Throughout his time away, cricket has gone by means of arguably its most revolutionary interval. Until you took your 80s and 90s data and stored updating them, you haven’t any enterprise being wherever close to a training job.
When Malik performed, T20 didn’t exist; when Malik performed, approach reined supreme not effectivity; when Malik performed, Check was the true take a look at, it isn’t now. His dinosaur model of cricket has no place in at this time’s recreation, so then what’s the purpose of the so-called photographs at redemption?
Giving one other likelihood to a participant with recreation data that won’t essentially translate on this period is a unnecessary threat, one PCB has no motive to take. Not when the system nonetheless has greater than its share of Umar Akmals and Sharjeel Khans, and there aren’t any indicators that extra will not be on their approach.
Malik, for his service and disservice to the sport, was amply paid and has paid amply. He has a spot in Pakistan cricket crew’s historical past, for which he must be recognised. Nevertheless, if his apology — even when heartfelt — is a gross sales pitch for a soft PCB employment below the garb of regret, it ought to fall on deaf ears.
The author is a cricket aficionado primarily based in Karachi. He sells automobiles by day and writes sports activities by night time.
The views expressed by this author don’t essentially replicate the views and insurance policies of the Daybreak Media Group.