As the 3rd Test in Sharjah is finely poised between Pakistan and England, at the end of the 3rd day came some surprising news. 33 year old all rounder Shoaib Malik announced at the press conference this was to be his last Test as he was retiring from Test cricket.
This came as a shock to some of his team mates and management staff as well as his large fan base. This news is likely to distract the team from the task of securing the 3rd Test.
He had made an unexpected return to Test cricket in this series after a five year break.
Shoaib said “I am taking retirement from Test cricket and this is my last Test. I would like to thank my family, cricket board, my team-mates and my supporting staff as they have supported me all the way along. I think it’s the right time to quit this format and I want to focus on the upcoming 2019 World Cup.”
He did express some disappointment at having missed out on Test cricket over the last 5 years.
In the 1st Test in Abu Dhabi against England he hit a career best 245 runs. His performance with the bat tailed off in the rest of the series.
Before announcing his retirement today he was out for a first ball duck, LBW to an inswinging delivery by Anderson. However in the morning he finished with a career best 4 wickets for 33 runs.
Shoaib Malik has scored 1898 runs at 35.14, including 3 hundreds, in 35 Test appearances over the last 14 years.
He has also taken 29 Test wickets at 51.48 with his off spinners.
So why did Shoaib announce his retirement at this point in the middle of a Test match?
He wrote a blog soon after in which he expressed his thoughts.
Shoaib said he had been thinking about Test retirement for some time, after discussion with family, friends and colleagues. He expressed it was one of his toughest decisions. He wanted to concentrate on International one day and Twenty20 matches.
The challenge of this 3 Test series helped him make the decision. He paid respect to the senior figures Misbah ul Haq and Younis Khan. He wants to give an opportunity to the younger emerging players. Shoaib wished to focus more on the 2019 World Cup.
Shoaib wants to spend more quality time with his family.
‘Lastly, and foremost, I would like to thank my fans, friends, the Pakistan Cricket Board, team mates, management, coaches for trusting me and my abilities.’ concluded Shoaib.
Shoaib Malik felt it was the right time to announce his retirement, I respect his decision.
Thank you for all the memories over 14 years of Test match service to Pakistan.
Best wishes for the future.