Pakistan veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik has brushed aside rumours that he is now emerging as a real candidate to captain Pakistan in the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup.
Malik — who captained the Men in Green in place of suspended Sarfraz Ahmed — led the team to an eight-wicket victory over South Africa in the fourth One-Day International (ODI) of the five-match series on Sunday.
The wicketkeeper-batsman was awarded four-match suspension for breaching International Cricket Council (ICC)’s code of conduct over racism and is now out of the rest of South Africa tour.
When asked about how he is feeling about the captaincy role during the press talk after the match, the 36-year-old said: “When I got to the ground, I came to know that I was captaining as the decision was taken in the morning. My responsibility is to do whatever the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the team management is asking me to do. Other than that, I really don’t know about what is happening.”
Veteran all-rounder reveals he is not thinking about replacing Sarfraz Ahmed as full-time captain
Malik, who was captaining the side for the first time in nearly a decade and has experience of 278 ODIs, 35 Tests and 108 T20Is under his belt, termed the team’s performance as satisfactory.
“Overall, it was a [good] all-round performance and I feel it will do a world of good in our dressing room as well,” he said.
“The goal is to give your best shot and I am not putting any pressure on any player. However, it is imperative that whoever is in good form, they must stand up and do well for the team.”
The Multan Sultans captain also praised the bowling attack, who according to him set the tone for a famous win on Sunday.
“I must highlight the way all of them [bowlers] bowled today, it was exceptional and they set the tone [for this win],” he said.
“The pitch was a little damp. Pacers started off well but Hashim [Amla] and Faf [du Plessis] played really well. It was at that time when I decided to introduce spin as I realised the track was not really that good for batting. They got us important wickets of Faf and Amla, which I believe was a turning point in the match.”
Earlier, Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed has been suspended for four matches after accepting that he was in breach of the ICC’s Anti-Racism Code for Participants following an incident that occurred during the second ODI against South Africa in Durban on Tuesday.
Sarfaraz aimed a comment at South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo which resulted in Sarfaraz being charged with an offence under the Code, namely;
“Engaging in any conduct (whether through the use of language, gestures or otherwise) which is likely to offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, threaten, disparage or vilify any reasonable person in the position of a Player, Player Support Personnel, Umpire, Match Referee, Umpire Support Personnel or any other person (including a spectator) on the basis of their race, religion, culture, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin.”
Sarfaraz will miss the remaining two matches of the ongoing ODI series as well as the first two matches of the T20I series to follow.
As per Article 7.3 of the Anti-Racism Code, Sarfaraz will also have to undergo an education programme to promote the understanding and awareness of issues directly relevant to the offence that he has committed.
The ICC will work with the PCB to determine when and how this should take place.
The incident was initially reported by Ranjan Madugalle of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees after he conducted initial investigations and spoke to both players after the match.
Following a further investigation, the ICC General Counsel, Iain Higgins, then determined that the player had a case to answer under the Code, and the player was issued with a charge notice on 26 January.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: “The ICC has a zero-tolerance policy towards conduct of this nature. Sarfaraz has promptly admitted the offence, was regretful of his actions and has issued a public apology, so these factors were taken into account when determining an appropriate sanction.”
(It includes content from Cricket Pakistan)