Veteran Pakistan allrounder Shoaib Malik has no plans on following senior players Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan into retirement anytime soon, declaring he wants to play on until 2020.
Malik, who made his international debut in October 1999, has played 252 one-day internationals and 86 Twenty20s for Pakistan and is targeting the next major tournament in each format – the 2019 World Cup in England and the 2020 World T20 in Australia – before he retires.
The 35-year-old was part of Pakistan’s Champions Trophy triumph last month, and now he’s after a hat-trick of global silverware having won the World T20 in 2009.
“If my form does not desert me and if I can maintain my current fitness standards, I will call it a day after playing in the 50-over World Cup and then the World T20,” Malik said.
“My ambition is to become the first Pakistani player to have featured in teams that have won three ICC events.
“Everything will depend on how much I can continue contributing to the team as a senior player.
“I myself would not like to remain part of the national team if I feel I am becoming a burden. I will retire (if that happens).
“But right now after winning the Champions Trophy I am very optimistic we can win the next World Cup in England.”
Both Misbah and Younis walked away from Test cricket at the conclusion of the away series in the Caribbean in May as two of Pakistan’s greatest batsmen.
While Malik hasn’t matched the numbers of his experienced peers, he feels his decision to step down from the five-day format two years ago has improved his output as a limited-overs player.
Since his final Test against England in November 2015, Malik has averaged 41 in ODI cricket with a strike rate of 94, the highest by any Pakistan batsman with at least 700 runs in that period.
And that’s despite scoring just 54 runs with a top score of 16no in four innings during the successful Champions Trophy campaign.
“I retired from Test cricket in November 2015 after scoring a double hundred in the series against England because I wanted to focus on ODIs and T20 cricket,” said.
“I think I have vindicated and justified my place in the team. I think my performances since my retirement from Test cricket speak for themselves.
“I feel no pressure now and I know every time I go out for Pakistan I can add value to our performances.
“Not getting a big score in the Champions Trophy was disappointing but I did everything I could to make my presence felt as a senior pro.
“But winning the Champions Trophy is certainly one of the most memorable moments of my career.
“I am fortunate to have also been part of the team that won the World T20 in 2009 in England.”