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Blame fielding, not Aamir, for lack of wickets: Malik [The Nation] 04 May, 2017

KARACHI - Former Pakistan captain and veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik has praised the performance of pacer Muhammad Aamir since his return to the national team after serving a five-year ban for spot-fixing.

The left-armer has faced criticism from some sections after not been able to pick wickets the way he used to before his ban, and Malik feels that the criticism is unjustified.

“I think it’s unfair to criticise Aamir’s bowling,” said Malik while talking to “In team sports, your performance is also a reflection of the team, and vice-versa. Had our fielding these past 18 months been the way we have been fielding recently, Aamir’s impact would’ve be even more significant. His efforts since his comeback and his economy is top-notch; I believe we will see the best of Aamir in the coming years.”

The 35-year-old also congratulated both Younus Khan and Misbahul Haq, who are playing their final Test series for Pakistan, on their fantastic careers.

“Younus’ career is astonishing,” he said. “A career with nearly 18,000 international runs and an average of over 53 in Tests is just world class. He is a figure that Pakistan cricket will miss overall. Younus is the ultimate example of dedication and focus; he is a champion.”

Malik also praised Misbah for his exemplary leadership skills. “Misbah’s career has been loud, exemplary and one that will be remembered for his never-give-up style of leadership.”

Malik, who started playing cricket for Pakistan as a genuine off-spinner, also lauded young leg-break bowler Shadab Khan, and called him a ‘superstar in the making’.

“I like Shadab; he has a good head on his shoulders, is very athletic and adapts well to the situation,” said Malik. “I feel we have a superstar in the making and his focus should be on T20Is and ODIs for now. But my advice to fans and media is to give him time and be patient with him.”

While talking about his own form and fitness, Malik said that he is finally enjoying his cricket. “Yes, I am feeling good about my fitness and my game,” he said. “There is always pressure in cricket, but with experience, you learn how to handle it and how not to show much of it.”

He further added, “Playing any professional sport always has pressure around the corner. I always wanted to enjoy my cricket, it’s my passion and what I love, and finally I am really enjoying my cricket.”

The Sialkot-born all-rounder also brushed aside rumours that he is about to leave the Pakistan Super League franchise Karachi Kings and expressed excitement in playing alongside former Pakistan T20I captain Shahid Afridi, who joined Karachi after leaving Peshawar Zalmi. “I haven’t heard these rumours yet. I’m just excited about the next PSL and once again playing alongside Lala [Afridi],” he said.



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