Malik’s presence in Asaid surprises officials

Lahore: Former cricket captain Shoaib Malik`s presence in Guangzhou may be boosting Indian tennis star Sania Mirza`s confidence in the Asian Games but the Pakistan officials are puzzled how he got access to the Athletes` Village as he was not part of their contingent.

Pakistan contingent officials said Malik was not issued any visitor`s card by them nor had he applied for any accreditation on their behalf.

"We were surprised to see Shoaib hanging around in the Games Village, in the dining hall and gymnasium because he was not part of our contingent," an official said.

"It is not possible for anyone to stay at Games Village without having proper accreditation and obviously his wife must have arranged for his accreditation or perhaps Pakistan Cricket Board had something to do with this as cricket is among the disciplines in the Games," another Pakistan contingent official said.

Malik, who returned home from China, did not throw light on how he managed to get access to the Games Village, simply saying that he had joined Sania during Eid holidays as he got a week long break in the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy domestic tournament.

"I had a one week break so I joined my wife to support her in a big event like the Asian Games," Malik said.

He said after scoring a double hundred in the last round of Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, he was confident of making it to the 2011 World Cup preliminary list of players.

"I am pretty confident although it is up to the selectors to decide if they select me or not. My job is to simply perform and let them know I am still around," Malik said.

Malik, who was dropped from the national team since the ODI series in England in September, scored a double hundred in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy for his department PIA.

Malik said the double century had given him a lot of confidence and he is looking to make a comeback to the national team in the tour to New Zealand next month.