'Not even thinking about it' - Shoaib Malik not retiring yet, available for T20Is
Shoaib Malik is going nowhere, as he stressed on his supreme fitness despite ageing 40 as a big motivator to continue plying his trade on the field. The Pakistan stalwart, who remains active in domestic leagues around the world, said he is still very much available for selection in T20Is for his country.
Set to turn 41 on February 1st, Malik is currently in the neighbouring land of Bangladesh for the BPL 2023 for Rangpur Riders The veteran right-hander has wealth of T20 experience under his belt and has seemingly enjoyed a late wing to his career since the start of last year.
From January 2022 until now, a period spanning fixtures in the PSL, the CPL, LPL and now the BPL, Shoaib Malik has smashed 977 runs at an average of 34.89 while retaining a healthy strike rate of 135.3, doing the strenuous middle-order duties.
In an interview with the Cricket.com, he said it is his exceptional fitness that has allowed him to stay afloat at an age where most international athletes hang their boots and find other means to put the food on the table, usually broadcasting and media work, which even Malik did during the men's T20 World Cup in Australia.
Shoaib Malik says his T20I career is still very much on
"Trust me, even though I'm the oldest in the team, you can compare my fitness with a 25-year-old. So, I guess what motivates me is I still enjoy coming to the ground and I still think that the hunger is there and until the time these two things are there, I'm gonna keep playing cricket and this is why I am not even thinking of retiring," said Malik.
"I would like to retire from internationals and complete cricket once and for all but right now I'm not even thinking about it and I am enjoying my cricket whenever I get an opportunity I do go and play."
"I have already retired from Tests and ODIs, and T20s yes, I'm still very much available and wherever I get my opportunity I will give my best shot," he added.
Malik has had a fruitful BPL so far, having struck 225 runs at 45 per piece while recording a SR just shy of 135 - which keeps him in contention for a return to Pakistan's T20I plans, especially for the next T20 World Cup in the Caribbean & USA, where the slowish nature of the surfaces shall enable wings to his game.