Shoaib Malik’s hopes of a Pakistan recall are surely fading after the veteran batsman’s slow start to the current PSL season.
Malik has represented Pakistan 116 times in T20 internationals, scoring 2335 runs at a strong average of 31.13.
He’s also taken 28 wickets and 50 catches for the Green Shirts in the format.
However, the 39-year-old’s batting strike-rate of 124.20 isn’t exceptional by current standards and his contributions had dropped off prior to his omission from Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand in late 2020.
Malik hasn’t announced his retirement yet, probably because he still hopes to represent his country at the T20 World Cup in India later this year.
Yet, given his current form, his chances of making the squad for that tournament look very slim.
To earn a recall, Malik would need to put together a series of excellent performances, just like fellow veteran Mohammad Hafeez and swashbuckling opening batsman Fakhar Zaman are doing for Lahore Qalandars in the PSL.
By comparison, though, Malik’s returns for Peshawar Zalmi have been underwhelming.
The skipper made 26, 11*, 34, 29* in his first four matches before falling lbw for 1 to Mohammad Ilyas in a defeat to Karachi Kings on Wednesday.
Zalmi are still relatively well-placed in the tournament, having won three of their five matches, but it’s individual performances the selectors will be more interested in.
At this moment in time, Shoaib Malik simply isn’t scoring heavily or quickly enough to warrant a place in the Pakistan team.
With at least five more matches to go in the tournament, there’s still time for him to put forward a case.
Yet, for now, it looks as though only one veteran will be taking a spot in the Pakistan batting lineup at the World Cup, and that will be Hafeez rather than Malik.