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T20 World Cup 2021 | I’m obsessed with fitness, says Shoaib Malik on his T20 WC success

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Shoaib Malik stroked an unbeaten 18-ball 54 against Scotland in Sharjah on Sunday

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T20 World Cup 2021 | I’m obsessed with fitness, says Shoaib Malik on his T20 WC success

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SportsCafe Desk

11/08/2021

Shoaib Malik cited his self-obsession for fitness as a major factor for his success at the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021. The Pakistan middle-order batsman smashed an unbeaten 18-ball 54 to set up his side’s dominant 72-run in their last Super 12s fixture against Scotland in Sharjah on Sunday.

After Babar Azam (66) and Mohammad Hafeez (31) laid the platform for Pakistan’s strong finish, Shoaib Malik stole the show with a sizzling 18-ball 54* against Scotland in Sharjah on Sunday. Malik struck a four and six sixes during his blitz, which propelled the team to finish 189/4 after having opted to bat. 

It was the joint fastest half-century of the competition, after KL Rahul too, had scored one off 18 balls against same opponents in Dubai on Friday.

The 39-year-old believed that his self-obsession for fitness has helped him prolong his international career.

"Well, to be honest, I would say I have a self-obsession for seeing myself fit when I look at it in the mirror, and most importantly, I'm still enjoying playing cricket, and it's helping, as well, at the end of the day towards the team," Malik said at the post-match press conference.

"I guess if you want to stay fit, then you've got to train every day, and that's what I have been doing.

"I'm not sure about playing a year or two more years. Right now I'm in the middle of a very important thing and not thinking about all that."

Malik was not a part of Pakistan’s original 15-member squad, and was only called up as a replacement to injured Sohaib Maqsood. He guided Pakistan to a five-wicket win over New Zealand in Sharjah with a timely unbeaten 26, and later stroked a 15-ball 19 in a victory of similar margin against Afghanistan.

The former captain admitted of his disappointment on being sidelined earlier, and spoke how constant self-motivation has driven him to success.

"I was playing on the Caribbean Premier League when they announced the first team, and my name was not there. Of course, I felt bad. I was very disappointed,” he said.

"But I've seen a lot of teams where my name was not there, so of course when you're not part of the World Cup team, then it hurts. As a professional cricketer or as a professional athlete, your goal is to talk to yourself and somehow come out of that frustration.

"I had the opportunity because I was playing in the Caribbean Premier League, and then I came back, I played a domestic tournament because I still enjoy going to the ground, and that's what keeps me going.

"Overall in the dressing room, the atmosphere is really nice, and it's just that we need to keep giving our best shot."

Pakistan, who have had an unbeaten run in the tournament so far, will take on Aaron Finch’s Australia in the second semifinal in Dubai on Thursday. Malik expected it to be a tough contest and backed his team to deliver the goods.

"Of course we have seen Australia, the way they have been playing. They have been playing really good cricket. So are we. But of course it's going to be a tough challenge for both the teams," said Malik.

"It's another game, then I guess the other batters have made plans, execute and just take it as another game.

"We have a few days in between before the semis, so I'm sure management will sit, our team is going to sit and they'll definitely talk about and they'll make plans, as well, for the semis."

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