Fire v Ice
The Karachi Kings and Quetta Gladiators press conferences today, were a contrast of sorts. On the one hand we had a cool-as-ice Karachi Kings’ captain Shoaib Malik, who very rarely reveals his emotions and on the other hand, we had a hot-as-fire Quetta Gladiators opening batsman Ahmad Shahzad, whose full toss responses make for headline-worthy material.
Shoaib Malik having tried to hold the team together, with 37, made it a point to get off the dias before the press conference began and greet the media present. Ahmad Shahzad having scored a match-winning 71 from 46 balls, posed for mobile clicks post-press conference.
Shoaib Malik’s international press exposure and his personal reserve means that he is very tactful with his choice of words. When asked if some decisions had gone against his team, he was careful not to lay blame at the umpiring officials’ doors. “Pakistan has not had international cricket for so many years now, it is no wonder that we are lacking in decision-making experience, plus good and bad decisions happen in cricket.”
Ahmad Shahzad is a scribe’s delight, as he answers questions in a forthright manner and his media managers are usually cautious about bringing him for press interviews, for fear of what he might say. When asked what had inspired his return to rhythm, he said “Sometimes we get to hear things and this is not what we need, support is tremendously important.”
When asked if that meant he is getting more support from Quetta Gladiators’ coaching and management staff than from the Pakistani cricket team staff, he answered with an effusive laugh. “No, I did not mean it that way at all, it’s just that international cricket has different pressures.”
Shoaib Malik made sure to praise Ravi Bopara’s 40 from 29 balls and Ahmad Shahzad was equally lavish in complimenting fellow gladiators Luke Wright and Kevin Pieterson. The difference lay in the fact that Shoaib Malik reacts to difficult questions by depending on his inner reserves and keeping within boundaries, whereas Ahmad Shahzad feeds off the reporter’s aggression and reverse sweeps it back at him.
At this point, the future is looking rosy for both of them. Talk in the press box is that Shoaib Malik will be the national team’s next T20 captain after Shahid Afridi’s retirement and Ahmad Shahzad is thought to have secured a place in the WorldT20 squad. Until then, the PSL-covering press will be hopeful of a few more beamers.