Pakistan has dropped former skipper Shoaib Malik from its playing eleven for the first Test against Australia starting Tuesday at Lord’s after the experienced all-rounder skipped a few practice sessions to be with his wife Sania Mirza.
Sources in the Pakistan team management said the officials were irked by Shoaib Malik’s non-serious approach in the lead to what is an important Test series for the Pakistan.
It was decided by the team management that it would be better to field rookie all-rounder Azhar Ali in the playing line-up instead of Shoaib Malik for the opening Test. Azhar Ali is now set to make his Test debut along with another young batsman Umar Amin.
Sources said it was a hard decision for captain Shahid Afridi and the Pakistan team management to exclude Shoaib Malik, one of the team’s most senior players, from the playing eleven as Pakistan does not have many experienced players in the touring party.
However, Shahid Afridi was of the view that he would rather have youngsters giving their hundred percent in the Test instead of opting for a player like Malik, who is more interested in spending time with his wife rather than getting ready for the tough assignment.
Shoaib Malik married Sania Mirza earlier this year. The couple made headlines in India, Pakistan and the rest of the world. Shoaib Malik, who was banned by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for one year over indiscipline, was recalled for last month’s Asia Cup after an appeals tribunal cleared him of any wrongdoing.