Shoaib Malik: We lack consistency

Talking of the India-Pakistan clash on June 4 in the Champions Trophy, Shoaib Malik says, “For me, honestly, this has never been like, ‘Tomorrow I am going to play against India, so it’s a very big thing’. At the end of the day, it’s just a game of cricket.”

"The good thing is we are on the right track," says Shoaib Malik.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Shoaib Malik is the most experienced player in the Pakistan squad for the Champions Trophy. He has perennially been a thorn in India’s flesh.

Shoaib speaks about the highly anticipated India-Pakistan clash on June 4 and his team’s chances in the tournament.

Excerpts:

Question: We have yet another India-Pakistan game. You are the most seasoned campaigner in your side this time. Are you used to it or do you feel the excitement even now?

Answer: For me, honestly, this has never been like, ‘Tomorrow I am going to play against India, so it’s a very big thing’. At the end of the day, it’s just a game of cricket. But having said that, it’s a great opportunity. If you do well in this game, obviously you get the extra edge. If you do well, your cricket board, media and people go like, “Ok, this guy has done well. Give him decent amount of chances”. So I think it’s a great opportunity.

How does your wife (Indian tennis player Sania Mirza) wish you good luck for a game like this?

Well, it’s always been the same even if I am playing against England or any other team because she is my wife. She gets the same thing if she plays against Pakistan…

In the Champions Trophy, we always talk about the potential that the Pakistan team has always had but still not going the full distance. Have you seen any particular reason for that? How would the team want to change that? 

Well, I think consistency is something which is missing in our squad. Individually, you have to take the responsibility and improve your own game. If you are consistent, then obviously, you are helping the team. Being a senior cricketer, I have extra load on my shoulder to perform consistently and helping the youngsters. But yes, this is something which we really need to improve.

I think physical fitness is something that gives you consistency and our management, our cricket board, they all are emphasising on this. They are talking individually to cricketers. Even in the domestic structure, if you are not fit, you will not be considered for selection. So I think it is a great sign for Pakistan cricket. You won’t see glimpses of it tomorrow. It is going to take a bit of time, but yes, the good thing is we are on the right track.

You have always done well against India. What is the secret of your performance?

Consistency is something that I always wanted to see in me. I think over the years, whenever we played against India — it was an on and off thing — I still performed. And I hope I perform again in the coming game, so my record doesn’t go down. But obviously, if we end on a winning note, that will give me a lot of happiness.

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