Sharjah, United Arab Emirates: Veteran Pakistan all-rounder and former captain Shoaib Malik announced his retirement from Test cricket after he failed in the second innings of the third Test against England in Sharjah on Tuesday.
The 33-year-old who made a comeback in the longer format of the game after a five-year exile in the first Test against England in Abu Dhabi, smashed a career-best 245 on his return. But has since then not been able to impress, having made nought, two, seven, 38 and nought in the remaining five innings of the series. The lack of form seems to have prompted him to call it a day, though he denied it.
Shoaib Malik acknowledges the crowd as he celebrates his double century during the second day's play of the first Test match between Pakistan and England at The Sheikh Zayed International Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi in October. Pic/AFP
His last innings in Test cricket ended on duck after he was trapped lbw by a big James Anderson inswinger.
In a shock announcement at the close of the third day's play, an emotional Malik told reporters, "I am retiring from Test cricket after this match. The reason of my leaving Tests is not because of slump in form but it's because I want to give more time to my family and concentrate on the 2019 World Cup."
Malik was married to Indian tennis star Sania Mirza in 2010.
"I realised today that this is the right time to leave the place for youngsters and Pakistan have many talented players who can fill in," said Malik, who made his Test debut against Bangladesh in Multan in 2001.
In all, he played 35 Tests, scoring 1,898 runs with three centuries and eight half-centuries. He has so far taken 29 wickets, with his best figures of 4-33 coming on Tuesday against England in Sharjah, a figure to which he can possibly add a few in England's second innings.
The Pakistan Cricket Board announced that Malik had been inducted into the Test squad for the series against England as the 16th player. He was not named in the squad of 15 announced last month and he last played a Test in England in August 2010.
The PCB said Malik had been included on the request of the team management since he was in good form and a very experienced performer.
Malik, who has led Pakistan in Test matches, became a strong candidate for a Test comeback because of the worries the selectors have over the form of Ahmed Shehzad and Muhammad Hafeez.
Matches - 34
Runs - 1, 860
Highest score - 245
Average - 35.76
Hundreds - 3
Fifties - 8
Strike Rate - 45.77