No team favourite to win World Cup, says Malik - GulfToday

No team favourite to win World Cup, says Malik

Pak

Shoaib Malik (left) attends a training session with team-mates at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on Saturday. Agence France-Presse

Senior Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik believes no team is favourite to win the upcoming World Cup slated to be held in England and Wales from May 30.

“All the teams at the World Cup are strong and no team is favourite. Everyone has to struggle under the English conditions, where rainy weather may create problems for any team on a given day,” the Dawn quoted Malik as saying on Saturday.

The veteran cricketer has not been in great touch in the past one year. Since the start of 2018, his performances with the bat has seen a dip. He has averaged 29.21 and scored at a strike rate of just 77.62.

His overall record in England too is not good with an average of 13.63 from 23 innings with just one fifty-plus score.

However, Malik insisted that he was unperturbed by the criticism and hoped that the critics won’t be carrying out postpartum of the players’ performance in the showpiece event for “non-technical reasons”.

“I hope the critics will not carry out postpartum of the players’ (performances) during the World Cup on non-technical reasons. I have no complaint against the anchors but against (some) former cricketers, who just focus on dropping or bringing a player on the basis of (their) liking and disliking,” said the 37-year-old who will be playing his last World Cup.

“I don’t follow Pakistani media, so I don’t care about what it says of me. The big thing is that it is my last World Cup and I am in the team. I will give my best for the team as I never played for myself,” he added.

Pakistan will begin their World Cup campaign against the West Indies on May 30 at Trent Bridge.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s newly selected opener Abid Ali on Sunday expressed confidence that despite strained political relations India’s legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar will give him a hug and a few batting tips at next month’s World Cup.

The 31-year old has been a prolific run scorer in Pakistan’s domestic cricket and broke into the national one-day squad for the World Cup after smashing a century on his debut against Australia in Dubai last month. Abid is almost the same height as Tendulkar and bats in a similar style, but has a long way to match the Indian maestro’s phenomenal record of most Test runs (15,921), most one-day runs (18,426), most Test hundreds (51) and most one-day centuries (49) to name a few.

“It’s my wish and hope that I meet Sachin Tendulkar,” Abid told a group of journalists.

“Definitely, I would like to hug him and I am sure that just like all great players meet youngsters I am sure that he will not turn me down.”

Agencies

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