Malik expected to take over as Pakistan captain after Misbah's retirement

Shoaib Malik was dropped because of poor form in the Test series against England late last year Getty Images

Lahore: Jan 31, 2012

Pakistan’s former captain Shoaib Malik will be part of the one-day squad for the series against England as the national selectors believed that he is the best choice to take over after Misbah-ul-Haq steps down.

In an unusual situation which reflects the vagaries of Pakistan cricket, a national selector confirmed Malik was in the run to make the one-day squad.

“The feeling is that we should be preparing someone as the next captain whenever Misbah steps down and Malik appears to be the strongest bet,” a well-placed source close to the selectors told PTI.

Ironically, Malik was dropped because of poor form in the Test series against England late last year.

But the seasoned all-rounder, who was the captain from 2007 to 2009, has been scoring runs in domestic cricket.

The source said the selectors had indirectly conveyed to Malik that he should just focus on getting runs in domestic cricket and they will do the rest.

“The selectors have had a word with the team management and there is support for Malik to make a comeback for the limited over games against England,” the source said.

Malik was rated as a good captain before the board removed him after acting on the report of the manager and coach who felt he had an attitude problem and couldn’t communicate well with other players.

“The feeling now is that Malik has matured as a person and player and is best suited to become the next captain whenever Misbah steps down,” the source said.

Malik, who will celebrate his 30th birthday tomorrow, when contacted said he was keen on a comeback.

“I know there is a lot of pressure involved on you when as a senior player you make a comeback to international cricket but I am learning to cope with that,” Malik said.

“Right now my focus is only on making a comeback with my performances. But it is up to the selectors what they decide for the England series,” Malik added. (PTI)