Struggling Malik has Yousuf’s backing

Sunday, January 17, 2010

HOBART - A struggling Shoaib Malik has found the support of skipper Mohammad Yousuf, who he says has given him some valuable batting tips.

Malik, who was dropped from the Pakistan line-up after failures in the first two Tests against New Zealand earlier this season, hit a gutsy 58 in the third Test against Australia.

“The time I spent on the sidelines has helped me focus on my batting,” Malik, a former Pakistan captain, told The News. “I have talked to our captain Yousuf about my batting because he is also our best batsman. His help has been valuable.”

Malik is hoping to utilise his second innings to help save Pakistan in their third Test against Australia after falling short of doing that here at the Bellerive Oval Saturday.

He shared a fifth-wicket stand of 129 with opener Salman Butt (102) on the third day of the Test only to fall when Pakistan needed him the most.

“I should have stayed there longer, he said. I mean, it is still a good wicket and there was a chance for us to stay out there for around 140 overs and save this Test, he added.

Malik admitted that the pressure of batting last on a fifth-day wicket that is expected to crack up could be a tough challenge.

“It wont be easy, he said. Its never easy to bat in the fourth innings with a huge lead piled up against you. But we will have to do it somehow and I believe that at least a couple of us guys will have to stay there at the wicket for long durations.

Malik struck a brilliant 134 in the Colombo Test against Sri Lanka last July but flopped miserably in the first two Tests in New Zealand earlier this season. After knocks of 2, 32, 9 and 3 in Dunedin and Wellington, Malik was dropped for the third Test against the Kiwis in Napier last month and was also overlooked for the first two Tests against Australia in Melbourne and Sydney.

However, the failure of Misbah-ul-Haq to find form in those Tests forced the tour selection committee to recall Malik in the playing eleven for the Hobart Test.

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