Malik vows to be a team-man
Karachi: Considered a `negative influence` on the Pakistan team not so long ago, all-rounder Shoaib Malik has vowed to dispel apprehension about his attitude during this month`s Asia Cup and the Test tour of England after that.
Malik was surprisingly picked in the Asia Cup squad on Thursday just a few days after the appeal`s judge of the Pakistan Cricket Board removed a one-year ban on him.
"I know I can still give a lot to the team and I have assured the board and the captain and coach that I will give them full support and be part of their plans for the team," Malik said.
"I aim to make my presence felt with my performances and with my behaviour. I also want to put the controversies and incidents of the past behind me and play a more positive role in the team," he added.
The ban on Malik was imposed in March after an inquiry committee that probed into the team`s poor performances in Australia early this year found that Malik was responsible for creating disharmony in the team.
It also emerged during the inquiry committee proceedings that the manager and coach during the tours to New Zealand and Australia had wanted to send Malik back because of his `negative` presence in the touring squad but were convinced by former captain Muhammad Yousuf not to do this.
Yousuf, current captain Shahid Afridi and the manager and coach spoke very negatively about Malik and described him as a negative character.
Well placed sources said that Afridi was initially not in favour of having Malik in his team even after the lifting of the ban.
But a common friend convinced Afridi to give Malik another chance to revive his career.
"Afridi has been told that Malik will cooperate with him all the way and transform himself into a complete team man," one source said.
Afridi, who has backed Malik`s inclusion in the 15-man touring party, said he believes the former captain has learnt his lessons after getting slapped with a one-year ban.
He rejected the impression that Malik was picked for the Asia Cup because of pressure from various influential quarters.
"I don`t take any pressure from anyone. The thing is that Shoaib Malik is a talented cricketer and there is no doubt about it. The team needs him. But I`ve told him clearly that `I`m supporting you and I need your support for the sake of the team`," said Afridi.
"Malik has assured me of his complete support. He sounded really serious about making a successful international return and wants to help me in my efforts to put the team back on track," he added.