PCB likely to grant central contract to Shoaib Malik

Shoaib Malik has been selected in the Pakistan squad for Zimbabwe tour Getty Images

Karachi: Aug 24, 2011

As he has got clearance from PCB’s integrity committee, seasoned all-rounder Shoaib Malik is likely to get a central contract from the Board.

“The Chairman of the Board will take a decision on Malik’s central contract and which category he should be given. But there is no doubt he is now one of the few senior players in the side,” a PCB official said.

The lobby, which pushed for the clearance of Malik and return to the national side is now pushing for the former captain to get a central contract as soon as possible but the official said a decision was solely the discretion of the Board Chairman Ijaz Butt.

There is a feeling that Malik’s comeback to international cricket should first be watched in Zimbabwe before deciding which category he should get a central contract as he has not played for Pakistan since August last year.

Chief selector Mohsin Khan, however, is very optimistic about some youngsters coming through on the Zimbabwe tour.

“We have given them an opportunity to showcase their talents and now it is up to them how they avail it,” he said.

Mohsin however expressed confidence that the three new faces in the side, Rameez Raja Junior, Yasir Shah and Aizaz Cheema would come through at the international level. He also termed the tour as significant for pace bowlers Sohail Khan and Sohail Tanvir, making a comeback to the national side after gaps, and young Junaid Khan.

“We see Zimbabwe as quite a strong opposition but feel that this is also the right moment to blood younger players in the team along with the senior players,” Mohsin said.

“We are therefore trying out some new faces on this tour because they may serve us well against stronger teams like England and Sri Lanka in the upcoming assignments,” he added.

The former opener emphasised that it was not only the responsibility of the coaches and the captain but of all the senior and junior players to give their hundred per cent to the team on the tour for its success.

“I am very confident that the captain and the senior players will lead from the front to set a great example for the young cricketers on the Zimbabwe tour,” he said.

Pakistan will play one Test, three One-day Internationals and two T20 matches against Zimbabwe. (PTI)