Middle order batsman Shoaib Malik announced that he will retire from test cricket as the test series against England draws to a close at Sharjah.
Malik only just made his comeback into test cricket after a gap of five years and when he scored that double ton in his first innings, it seemed as if he belonged but the comeback king failed miserably in the 5 innings that followed as he failed to get a good score under belt.
Lets examine a few reasons why he has made the right call about his retirement.
1) Swing and short bowling
It was evident that Shoaib Malik found it difficult to counter the swing bowling of English fast bowlers with the new ball. He was constantly troubled by the in swinging deliveries and had no plan b to ease his way past them. In the same manner he struggled to avoid the fast short pitch bowling and was dismissed in exactly the same fashion.
2) His game suits the shorter format
Shoaib Malik plays in a manner that suits the ODIs and T20 as compared to test matches because even if he is put under pressure, he can use his get out of jail shots to avert it. In test matches it is not possible to attack as the fielders are always around the bat to exploit his weaknesses and players like Malik are easily trapped.
Shaoib Malik had never played at the third position for Pakistan but was made to do so in this series. Number three position needs your best batsman to play in that role and Malik clearly was not the man suited for this job in the absence of usual one down player Azhar Ali. Seeing the team right now, only the opening slot is up for grabs as Pakistan have failed to produce a quality partner for Hafeez and that position is surely not made for Shoaib Malik.
4) Focus on 2019 world cup
Pakistan are bound to play in the 2019 world cup and if Shoaib Malik can carry his form till that time, he will be an asset for team. He will also provide the team with his off spin bowling which is crucial to the combination of the side. Malik also pointed out the same thing in his interview where he announced his retirement.
Malik is nearing his 34th birthday and had he carried on for more time in test matches, it would have been difficult for him to continue till the 2019 world cup which is why it is the right time to retire from tests. Mentally and physically test matches take a lot out of a player and so in order to focus on other formats he needed call it a day in test matches.
Through the reasons provided above I believe that Shoaib Malik has made the right decision of retiring from test matches and it is better for the team combination as well because I think he is a misfit in our test lineup.