Shoaib Malik is easily the most experienced cricketer among the players of both India and Pakistan’s current ODI sides playing in the Asia Cup in the UAE.
Having represented Pakistan in 270 ODIs, 35 Tests, and 103 T20Is, Malik has been associated with the team for 19 long years now. He is easily one of the most reliable middle-order batsmen and off late, he has proved that he still remains to be the ‘finisher’ in the side.
After thrashing Hong Kong in their opener, Pakistan lost the match to arch-rivals India in the Group stage. They almost lost their next group fixture too, which was against Afghanistan, but Malik came to their rescue and his unbeaten half-century ensured Pakistan crossed the line successfully.
On Sunday, Malik again was the go-to man when Pakistan lost wickets like nine pins. His 90-ball 78 helped Pakistan post a total of 237 runs against India. Although they lost the game by nine wickets, Malik once again proved how much experience matters in crunch situations.
However, on Sunday more than his batting, his character won hearts of the Indian fans. There is a video that has gone viral on social media of Malik responding to the fans while he was fielding at the boundary.
Malik is married to Indian ace tennis player, Sania Mirza and which is why he is fondly called as ‘India’s son-in-law.’ When Indian fans called him ‘jiju jiju’ during the Super Four clash between India and Pakistan on Sunday, malik turned back and waved at the fans.
This certainly was a great gesture from the Pakistani veteran. This was not the first time he has won hearts for the person he is in this tournament. In Pakistan’s previous match against Afghanistan, when Pakistan clinched the nail-biting match, an Afghan cricketer broke down into tears.
Pakistan needed 10 runs off the final over and Malik smashed Afghan bowler Aftab Alam for a six and a four after playing a dot ball and took Pakistan to a spectacular victory. He indeed was the hero of the day for his team but he chose to console the crying Afghan cricketer instead of celebrating his match-winning knock and his country’s win.