Whatmore backs Shoaib Malik to lead Pak T20 side: Sources

Lahore: Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore has backed the return of former captain Shoaib Malik to the national side for limited overs cricket and also feels he will be the best candidate to lead the team in T20 cricket.

A well-placed source aware of the developments said on Wednesday that Whatmore was in favor of bringing back Malik as the captain of the national T20 side.

"It is too early to predict things but one thing is certain that before the team goes to Sri Lanka the Pakistan cricket Board will announce a new captain for the T20 outfit and Malik is a front runner now after the backing of Whatmore," the source said.

The appointment of a new captain for the national T20 side has become a significant issue in Pakistan as the T20 World Cup is due in September in Sri Lanka.

Secondly many cricket critics and fans don`t favour Misbah-ul-Haq to lead the team in the T20 format in particular due to his age and different approach to the game and captaincy.

"Malik impressed Whatmore who was present in Rawalpindi throughout the national super eights T20 championship with the way he led the Sialkot Stallions side to their seventh national T20 championship title," the source said.

Malik not only performed well in the championship but earlier had also captained PIA to the national one-day title and also came out with a impressive performance with both bat and ball throughout the competition.

When contacted Malik said he was not in a position to comment on the captaincy issue at all.

"For me right now it is a long battle to win back my place in the team as a senior player. My entire focus is on convincing the selectors and coach and captain I can play for Pakistan again," Malik said.

"The captaincy is a sensitive issue and something only the board is best equipped to deal. I don`t want to comment on this, for me the main thing is getting back into the team.

Malik said he had worked hard on his fitness and given his best in the national one-day and T20 events to show the selectors that he could contribute to the Pakistan team as a senior player and allrounder.

Malik is certain to be in a month long conditioning camp that has been suggested by Whatmore and captain Misbah starting later this month, especially to give a chance to them to work with the new and upcoming players.