The Internet has exploded in meme fest after Shoaib Malik was included in the Pakistani T20 World Cup squad.
The 39-year-old will rub shoulders with the cricketers who were not even born when he started his career.
“This is Pakistan. Pakistan New Bowling Coach Vernon Philander is Younger than Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez,” tweeted Muhammad Muneer.
Many of the cricket lovers posted a news clip in which an anchor was seen hearing that how the entire nation has changed but not Shoaib Malik.
“When Shoaib Malik made his international debut for Pakistan, Shaheen Afridi, Wasim Jr, and Haider Ali were not even born while Dahani was one year old Now he’s gonna play along with them Masha Allah,” tweeted Rao Nouman Arshad.
Amid meme fest, a lot of cricket lovers showed their support for the fitness he has been maintaining during these last two decades of his career.
“Malik is back SHOAIB MALIK RETURNS! Veteran Shoaib Malik has been called as a replacement for Sohaib Maqsood in Pakistan’s T20 World Cup squad,” Umar Malik tweeted,
K khan tweeted: “Shoaib Malik’s cricketing career in pictures taken from @ESPNcricinfo website. One of the world’s best T20 players and one of the fittest also. He has played with stars of all eras.”
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has issued a statement saying that Maqsood has been dropped from the squad due to a lower back injury.
It also said that Malik’s experience will be handy for the entire squad during the tournament.
Pakistan allrounder and former captain, has already retired from Test cricket back in 2015 when he was at the prime of his career. Four years later, he announced his retirement from One Day International cricket.
Now Malik’s name in the T20 World Cup squad has come as a surprise given his age and seniority.
Malik also became the 8th player ever to play international cricket for more than two decades. The 39-year-old made his debut in 1999 against West Indies in an ODI and has so far played more than 430 international games.
Malik’s name is being now counted with legends including Wilfred Rhodes, Frank Woolley, Dennis Brian Close, Sachin Tendulkar, Jack Hobbs, George Gunn, and Sanath Jayasuriya, whose career as a cricketer spanned for more than four decades.
He has also become the first male cricketer to play more than 100 T20Is and also was known for being the fourth batsman, after Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum, and Kieron Pollard, to breach the 8000-run barrier in Twenty20 matches in 2018.
At an age that is relatively considered not supportive of cricket, Shoaib Malik wants to go on and wants to play the sport. Recently Malik said that he is very much fit and has plans to retire from T20 cricket.
In a recent interview, Malik said he can still contribute with both bat and ball. “I am saying very clearly today I have not even thought about retirement. I have no plans to retire now because I am fit, I can bat, and I can bowl. I have recently signed two-year contracts in some leagues so where does the question of me taking retirement after the World Cup arise,” Malik said.
Malik has played 287 ODIs for Pakistan and has scored 7534 runs at an average of 34.56. Malik has also taken 158 wickets in the ODI format with his off-spin.
What makes Malik an ideal choice for T20 cricket is that he is the second-highest run-scorer for Pakistan. The right-hander made 2335 runs in the T20 format and averages 31.13. He has scalped 28 wickets in T20I cricket.
Malik was last seen in a Pakistan jersey on September 1, 2020, against England at Old Trafford.