Lahore: Pakistan’s coach Dav Whatmore has backed the return of former captain Shoaib Malik to the national side for limited-overs cricket and feels that he will be the best candidate to lead the team in Twenty20 cricket.
A source aware of the developments told PTI on Wednesday that Whatmore was in favor of bringing back Malik as the captain of the national Twenty20 side. “It is too early to predict, but one thing is certain that before the team goes to Sri Lanka the Pakistan Cricket Board will announce a new captain for the Twenty20 outfit and Malik is a front runner now after the backing of Whatmore," the source said.
The appointment of a new captain for the national Twenty20 side has become a significant issue in Pakistan as the ICC World Twenty20 will be played in September. Many critics of the game and fans don't favour Misbah-ul-Haq to lead the team due to his age and his cautious approach to the game and captaincy. "Malik impressed Whatmore, who was present in Rawalpindi throughout the national Super Eights Twenty20 Championship, with the way he led the Sialkot Stallions to their seventh national Twenty20 title," the source added.
When contacted, Malik said he was not in a position to comment on the captaincy issue at the moment. "For me right now it is a long battle to win back my place in the team as a senior player. My entire focus is on convincing the selectors, coach and captain that I can play for Pakistan again," Malik said. “The captaincy is a sensitive issue and is something which the board is best equipped to deal. I don't want to comment on this. For me the main thing is to get back into the team.”
Malik said he had worked hard on his fitness and had given his best in the national one-day and Twenty20 events to show the selectors that he could contribute to the Pakistan team as a senior player and allrounder. Malik is certain to be a part of a month long conditioning camp suggested by Whatmore and captain Misbah starting later this month.