Veteran Pakistan batsman Shoaib Malik expressed confidence in his team’s ability to go all the way at the 2019 World Cup. "Yes, we have the ability to win the World Cup hands-down, but abilities don’t win you anything, performances do. Our capabilities include having top ODI bowlers and batsmen in our line-up and personally I’m looking forward to a memorable World Cup 2019," Malik is quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
Pakistan beat South Africa in the first of a five-match ODI series by five wickets in Port Elizabeth on Saturday. They are only fifth in the ICC ODI rankings but have exhibited been in good form in recent limited-overs matches. In addition to this, they have shown a tendency to take ICC tournaments by storm, as was evidenced by their stunning victory in the 2017 Champions Trophy.
36-year-old Malik, who made his international debut in an ODI against West Indies in 1999, had said previously that he would retire after the upcoming World Cup. At the same time, though, he indicated that he won’t be averse to sticking around till the 2020 World T20. "My decision to retire is not necessarily connected to my fitness levels, though that is one of the inputs that I will take into account," he said. "The main point is that I want to be valuable to my country till the last game I play. I also need to catch up with my work-life balance and spend time with my family."
"At this time, I have no plans to change my mind," said Malik, "but as we all know 2020 is also a big year for my favourite format, T20 when we will have another World T20 – so you just never know!"
Malik had retired from Test cricket in 2015, just a month after he made a dramatic return to the side with a career-high score of 245 against England in Abu Dhabi. He has, however, been a mainstay in limited overs cricket and is expected to play a crucial role in the 2019 World Cup for Pakistan.