Malik hopes for a positive 2008
| || |
Shoaib Malik: "Our series win over Sri Lanka and runners-up finish to India in the Twenty20 were the bright points and if we keep that sort of intensity we can also improve our Test performance"
Shoaib Malik hopes Pakistan will put the miseries of 2007 behind them and bounce back with strong performances in the next 12 months.
"Apart from a few positives the last year was not very good for us, but I am sure that the team will settle and do well in the new year, in which we have to play Australia and [compete] in various important tournaments," Malik said.
Pakistan had a year to forget, crashing out of the World Cup in the first round, where their coach Bob Woolmer also died. Woolmer's death came a day after Pakistan's loss to Ireland and overshadowed Pakistan's premature ejection.
The defeat prompted Inzamam-ul Haq to relinquish the captaincy and quit one-day cricket. Malik, 25, took over after first-choice Younis Khan declined to take charge citing personal reasons, while Mohammad Yousuf was not considered for the job.
Malik led Pakistan to a one-day series win over World Cup runners-up Sri Lanka before his team reached the final of the Twenty20 World Championship held in September in South Africa. "Our series win over Sri Lanka and runners-up finish to India in the Twenty20 were the bright points and if we keep that sort of intensity we can also improve our Test performance," he said.
Pakistan lost all three of their Test series - two against South Africa (home and away) and to India in India late last year. They also lost the one-day series against South Africa and India and were relegated to sixth in both one-day and Test rankings.
"It's not that we lost one-sided contests, but the notable thing was that we made minor mistakes and if we have learnt from those mistakes, which I am confident we have, then we can do well in this new year."
Pakistan face Zimbabwe in a five-match one-day home series later this month before playing hosts to Australia - a series which Malik hopes will raise his team's confidence. "Whenever you play against Australia your confidence rises because they are a world-class team and I hope that if we do well it will help us in the Champions Trophy later this year," he said.
Malik also played down fears that Australia could pull out of the tour after last week's assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and the ensuing unrest in the country. Ricky Ponting said he was keen to play Pakistan, but at a neutral venue. "I don't see the series being disturbed over security fears because things will settle down and the Pakistan Cricket Board and players like me will do our best to have this series on our grounds," Malik said.
© The News