Can Shoaib Malik pull it off this PSL season?

Where PSL was bonhomie for Nawaz, it was a nightmare for the other few

Ebad Ahmed
Can Shoaib Malik pull it off this PSL season?

Pakistan Super League Season 1 was undoubtedly a breath of fresh air for the domestic players.

What more could a cricketer aspiring to secure a place in national squad want than an opportunity to show off his talent? Take Muhammad Nawaz; his 10-match performances, where he secured 13 wickets with an impressive average of 23.40, were enough to give him the entry pass for Pakistan cricket team.

Who can forget his magical delivery to Brad Hodge?

But where PSL was bonhomie for Nawaz, it was a nightmare for the other few. One most prominent name in the list of the latter is Shoaib Malik.

Malik had a disastrous time, to say the least. Though Karachi Kings did not get knocked out of entering into the semi-finals, it was a widely held perception that the franchise did not deserve its place in the final four – a sentiment which was also echoed by the team’s senior player, Ravi Bopara.

“We’ve played poorly, I don’t think we deserved to go through the way we’ve played if I’m being brutally honest,” he said. "But this league, four teams go through no matter what and you don’t know what can happen in the play-offs. It’s a lot of pressure, the knockout stage. We’ll see what happens under pressure."

Later, Malik resigned from the captaincy and gave charge to Bopara to lead the time in the coming matches.

However, despite the captaincy resignation, the shambolic performance of the team in the inaugural season featuring Mohammad Amir, Shakib Al Hasan, Imad Wasim, Mushfiq ur Rahim and TM Dilshan continues to put question marks on his (lack of) captaincy skills. The question here is, for how long can he escape?

His PSL stats can’t be hidden away; 157 runs in 9 innings, with an average of 17 runs.

Malik will now be playing under the captaincy of Sri Lankan veteran cricketer Kumar Sangakkara. But the pressure on him is still huge. He has to prove himself. Last year it was bad; he and the franchise owners must be hoping this year does not turn out to be another disaster. And to avoid that Malik has to show the “mad cricketing skills” – as his twitter bio tells us about him.

Can he do it? He better should, because at the end of the day it is the performance which matters. And it just needs a big grand all-round performance from any youngster to raise alarm bells for Malik’s career. Because there will be a lot more Nawaz’s and a lot more Hasan Ali’s this season and in the seasons to come.