Pakistan's experienced allrounder Shoaib Malik feels he still has a lot to offer and even harbours hopes of returning to the Pakistan T20I setup. Malik, who will turn 41 on February 1, has already retired from Tests and ODIs but hasn't quit from T20Is. The veteran last featured for Pakistan in November 2021 against Bangladesh and hasn't been picked since then.
Malik continues to play different franchise-based T20 tournaments with considerable success and feels he still has the hunger to perform at the highest level. "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," Malik, who is playing for Rangpur Riders in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League, told reporters at the Sylhet International Stadium on Sunday (January 29).
"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."
Malik said that the recent changes in the PCB hardly has anything to do with his desire to play international cricket even though there is a belief that Najam Sethi's arrival at the top might pave way for him to make a return to the national dressing room.
"I'm a cricketer and seen enough in my life now and these things don't bother me and I guess as an athlete it is a message for all athletes that when you are playing a team game don't think who is in your favour and who is not in your favour," Malik noted.
The veteran also pointed out that he wants to stay one step ahead of the game in order to meet the ever-changing demands of T20 cricket. "Well, when T20 started, I guess 130/140 runs were enough and today even 220/230 runs are not enough when you are playing on a good track. So, I guess the revolution has been there and it changed a lot since T20 got started and I guess as a cricketer it is your responsibility to stay a step ahead so you can compete at a higher level and be consistent at your own game," he said.
"What I have been doing and I have been trying is to stay a step ahead so that I can meet the requirement where ever I go and play. I've been working on a couple of different varieties in my bowling. The minute a spinner comes in and bowls, every batter starts coming after that offie so I need work on some variations and I've been working on that."