Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Salim Malik - The Artist

Salim Malik.

The man was an artist.

I think he was one of the shrewdest minds to have played the game. One of the smartest batsmen ever. A man who made batting look like an art.

Besides Sachin Tendulkar, no one mastered Shane Warne the way Salim Malik did. His 237 against Australia in Rawal Pindi in 1994 still remains as one of the finest knocks by a captain. The score is the 2nd highest score (behind Wally Hammond's 240) by a captain against Australia. Malik's average of 92 in tests that he captained against Australia is still the highest average among captains in tests against Australia.

Moreover, Malik's record as Pakistan's captain is exceptional with a test win % of 58.33, which is only bettered by Waqar Younis and Rashid Latif. While his ODI win % of 64.7 is also one of the highest among Pakistan captains bettered by only Intikhab Alam (in 3 matches) and Shoaib Malik (majority against minnows).

But all these reasons is not why I believe that Salim Malik was an artist or the shrewdest batsman to play the game.

It is because of his single handed ability to dictate terms on the pitch, direct an entire innings, and orchestrate the outcome of a match.

Salim Malik was impeccable.

Typically batting at number 4 or 5, Malik would more often than not score healthy 40s, 50s, and scores in excess of that.

He was even more efficient in chases.

While Malik was at the crease, Pakistan always remained at par with the required run rate. At time above it, but never really too far below it.

Malik would ensure that he batted for a good part of Pakistan's innings, scored at a reasonable rate, and hogged the strike while stealing singles of the last ball of every over.

It was as if he was toying with the opposition's bowlers and fielders.

Little did anyone know that he was toying with his own team.

During the course of his well grafted innings, Malik always ensured that he got at least one batsman run out. He also skilfully ensured that the batsman at the other end took over the responsibility to get quick runs, while he remained at the crease saving his wicket for the end.

Since he was captain and also the senior most members of the side, he easily demanded that.

While Malik would continue with his knock, batsmen at the other end would perish while trying to up the tempo, or would get run out due to calculated calls made by Malik.

Malik would continue to bat till most of the batsmen were back in the pavilion, and with 50 odd runs still to get, he would also throw his wicket away leaving the task of finishing the game on the tailenders.

He did this repeatedly over a period of 3-4 years in the mid 90s.

Salim Malik was the best orchestrator of a loss the game of cricket has ever seen.

He was a true artist who had perfected the art of batting and controlling an innings.

The game has never seen anyone like Salim Malik.

And now he wants to become the coach of the Pakistan national team.

I can't help but think what that would do to the extremely talented batsmen that are Pakistan's future. Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, and Nasir Jamshed surely require grooming, but do we really want them to be coached by Salim Malik?

Do we want more artists?

Do we want batsmen who master the art of losing games for Pakistan?

We definitely do not.

There is absolutely no reason why the PCB should even give a little bit of notice to the application put forward by Salim Malik.

Keep him away please!

Make your pitch on this post...

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2 Pitched:

  1. Unknown said...

    If we can have Waqar as bowling coach and are always willing to have Wasim as bowling coach then what's wrong with Malik. I think he should be given a job at the U19 level first and then if he produces results should be brought up to the national level.

  2. Unknown said...

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