Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik has been included in the squad for the upcoming tour of Zimbabwe. Malik, who was cleared by the PCB's integrity committee last week, was originally named in the list of standbys for the tour with his inclusion subject to clearance from the board.
"His name was already in the reserve list of players for the tour and the PCB integrity committee cleared him last week," Mohsin Khan, the chairman of the selection committee, said. "After discussions with the team management everyone agreed that with his experience the team would be further strengthened."
Malik, who last played for Pakistan during their controversial tour of England last summer, was involved in a battle with the PCB, whose integrity committee had previously not cleared him for selection since that England tour. The key point of contention was the nature of certain deposits in Malik's overseas bank account, but the PCB, when announcing his clearance on Friday, said that he was able to provide evidence that the deposits did not originate from any questionable source or activity.
Though he was not cleared to play for Pakistan, Malik has been playing domestic cricket. He was the second-highest run-getter in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Division One last season, with 799 runs at an average of 73.57. He also featured for Sialkot Stallions in the recently-completed Faysal Bank Super Eight T20 Cup.
Malik, 29, has played 32 Tests and 192 ODIs for Pakistan averaging a shade over 33 with the bat in both formats. He has picked up 21 wickets in Tests and 134 in ODIs, and has also played 32 Twenty20 internationals. He has captained Pakistan in three Tests, 36 ODIs and 17 Twenty20s.
Malik said he is looking forward to what could be his best years as a batsman. "I feel that I can play cricket for another six to eight years. I have been training hard and practising with intensity," he told PakPassion.net. "From 29 onwards, the next six or seven years are the best years for a batsman, where you can apply your experience and what you have learnt. I'm at that stage now. What's happened is history now, it's time to move on, look forward."
However, he is not considering another stint as captain. "I'm not thinking about captaincy at all," Malik said. "I just want to see my name in the starting XI. I am just thinking about playing good cricket and giving 100% in all facets of the game. This time around, I want to ensure that I am more consistent for Pakistan.
"Shoaib's inclusion will bolster the strength of the team," coach Waqar Younis said. "He has lots of cricket left in him and its good that he is again available to play for Pakistan."
Pakistan play one Test, three ODIs and two Twenty20 games against Zimbabwe, kicking off their tour with a two-day warm up game against a Zimbabwe XI from August 28 in Bulawayo.