Shoaib Malik’s Test retirement is anything but ‘graceful’

Published: November 8, 2015
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His total ended up being 245 – a career best – and he also contributed with the ball, taking four wickets in the match. PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik, who was recently recalled to the Test side after a gap of more than five years, has announced his retirement from the longest format of the game following the conclusion of his comeback series against England in the UAE.

Malik, who was not part of the team as a first choice, was drafted at the side as a replacement for the injured batsman, Azhar Ali. He was included in the playing 11 for the first game and with a bit of luck, went onto score a double century. His total ended up being 245 – a career best – and he also contributed with the ball, taking four wickets in the match.

His return could have been sweeter had Pakistan gone onto winning the match instead of it being a draw. But it was England that came close to securing an unbelievable 1-0 lead after dismissing Pakistan for mere 173 runs on the final day, and chasing down 99 runs in the handful of overs left in the match. Bad light came to the rescue of Pakistan and the rest is history.

Following his heroic return to the Test side, Malik’s scores were zero, two, seven, 38 and zero. Experts such as Ramiz Raja and David Lloyd began questioning his technique and place in the side by the end of the second match, but he was given another chance in Sharjah, after which he decided to call it quits in the longest format of the game and focus on limited-over cricket.

Soon after the decision was made public, Malik’s fans started praising him and went as far as saying that Malik was the epitome of a cricketer retiring ‘gracefully’ when he does not find himself suitable for a particular format.

In reality, there was no choice for the 33-year-old but to quit and if he had so much grace, he would have retired from all forms of cricket when he continued international cricket for five straight years without scoring even a single half-century.

So why did he quit Test cricket then?

The answer is very simple – lack of fitness, motivation and of course, he was never made for the real deal. After his knock of 245 in Abu Dhabi, Malik was not able to physically cope with the challenges of Test cricket. Even during his innings, he was seen struggling and could barely walk despite the weather being pleasant in the UAE.

Malik hopes he can extend his limited-over career until the 2019 World Cup, but he would have retired ‘gracefully’ by then. Furthermore, Pakistan has got some international tours scheduled in the year ahead, which will expose his poor technique even further and his ‘blind’ followers will once again go into oblivion.

Waqar Masood

Waqar Masood

The author has vast experience in content writing and editing. Currently, he is based in the UAE and works in the healthcare industry. His hobbies are playing cricket, tennis, swimming and watching Formula 1. He tweets as @WaqarMasood (twitter.com/WaqarMasood)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Ahsan

    What a stupid articleRecommend

  • Uzi

    pleasent weather in UAE? scored 245 by luck? are you high.. or just jealous? Shoaib made a bold decision, he knows where his strength lies and wants to focus in that area.Recommend

  • farhan

    ????
    Not even worthy for a ‘pitty’…….start watching cricket boy and write an article after 10 years atleast to develop some cricketing sense!Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    Talking of poor technique, I wonder why does Shahid Afridi not being criticised for the same reason, afterall he is a perfect combination of poor technique and poor temperament.Recommend

  • Paki

    try standing 10 minutes in UAE heat and you will know what fitness is. The guy made 245 and was the key in winning last match. Complete rubbish. how come these articles get published.Recommend

  • Ali

    Tribune has a habit of publishing controversial articles like this. Stupid piece.Recommend

  • Waqar

    It’s worthy of being published on ET, so bear with my ‘cricketing sense’Recommend

  • Waqar

    I’d say being tagged as ‘jealous’ is still better than being a blind follower!Recommend

  • Waqar

    I live in the UAERecommend

  • Waqar

    I agree with you and have always been critical of himRecommend

  • Waseem Sarwar

    You seem pretty “disturbed” by Malik’s inclusion in test squad. Malik is never ever a number three in tests but Pakistan had to use him in UAE especially when Hafeez can’t bowl. While we are technique, Malik has few half centuries in England, Australia and New Zealand. In our current test team, only Azhar and Asad Shafiq have the required technique to survive in testing conditions while Misbah has the guts to succeed in any conditions with sheer determination. Sarfraz scored around 60 runs in three tests in South Africa while we visited them few years back. I can’t see you mentioning him or anyone else in technique factor. Malik was a temporary fix for this Test series but he can always bat handy in lower or middle order in all sorts of conditions. He plays spin well and plays his shots against pacers which is a good thing these days.Recommend

  • khan

    Swaadhin have some shame for talking about Afridi like this. He is the one who won Pakistan a T20 world cup. He is the legend of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Saj

    And how often do you get out of an air-conditioned environment for more than six hours of physical exertion under the sun?Recommend

  • BSM

    Though I do understand the point raised by the author but still it’s hard to denay the fact that Malik retirement was nothing which we pak or for that matter we Asians fans are used too , we have history of players keep on dragging themselves to the point they start to hurt their own reputation ( yousif , afridi ..) and hamper the development of young talent .

    I would like to compare maliks retirement to younis situation in odi’s , just like Malik in test younis cant performe in odi’s and best course for him would be to retire from odi’s and focus on test but he is too thick to realize that he is damaging his repo .

    Becuause of yoinis insistent on playing in odi’s talent like rizwan will root on bench . So if Malik had not retired I am sure at first given opportunity his name would have been conisderd and guys like rizwan would have end up serving drinks , so in that aspect you really have to respect maliks decision .Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    In a country where no cricketers want to retire, I feel you are being really harsh on him. I am not a fan of his but what he did was graceful.Recommend

  • Khwaja Ali Shahid

    He never deserved to bat at No. 3 in a Test match against England. There may be a dozen technically better No. 3 and even more middle-order batsmen available in the domestic circuit. No wonder he was out for 05 years.The subsequent innings only proved…why he was being limited to T20s and ODIs. With retirement, he cemented his position within the shorter formats. Thankfully, he is doing better in those two. Swinging and bouncy wickets surely will test his temperament and technique.Recommend

  • Waqar

    I hear that! Thank you for your positive criticismRecommend

  • Waqar

    My point was that Malik retired from Test cricket out of boredom. Anyway, I appreciate you being critical and polite at the same time!!!Recommend

  • Waqar

    I agree and disagree with you on a few things. I was not disturbed by Malik’s inclusion in the squad, but didn’t like the way he was glorified by his fans following his retirement. Your comment though is valuable, so thank you!Recommend

  • Waqar

    He has done well against weaker opponents and on flat decks. Let’s see if he can cope with the pressure against better sides.Recommend

  • Waqar

    I have played cricket myself and under harsher conditions than now in the UAE. I only write or comment about things I have personally experienced.Recommend

  • Waseem Sarwar

    He wasn’t a top test player but he didn’t have many fan boys anyway. Infect he was considered symbol of favoritism and nepotism by many cricket fans in country and a quick glance on cricinfo would clear that for us. Malik would have played few more tests least if he had decided to hang on to his place but good on him for hanging his boots while he isn’t pushed out of team. Commendable act by a pretty average test player. He needs to play Misbah in current ODI side and i am sure he has the temperament for that task. cheers and welcome. :)Recommend

  • Komal S

    Shoaib showing grace in retirement. Maybe the influence of his Indian wife has a big role to play in showing this grace!Recommend

  • Waqar

    I have played cricket under worse conditions. I talk about things I have experienced in my life.Recommend