London, July 6: Veteran Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik announced his retirement from ODI cricket on Friday (July 5) after Pakistan defeated Bangladesh in their last league match in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
The former Pakistan captain who played 35 Tests, 287 ODIs and 111 T20Is for his country was given the guard of honour at the iconic Lord's where Pakistan ended their journey in this twelfth edition of the quadrennial event on a positive note. Pakistan won the match by 94 runs.
Malik played just three matches for Pakistan in this World Cup, scoring just eight runs (including two ducks). The 37-year-old all-rounder came under fire after his dismissal against arch-rivals India when the two teams faced each other in the highly-anticipated encounter, which Pakistan lost convincingly. He and his spouse Sania Mirza were facing backlash on social media all through the tournament as the images of the cricketer having lunch in England with his Indian tennis star wife went viral on social media.
Malik was one of the last remaining active cricketers who made their debut in the 20th century. West Indies' Universe Boss Chris Gayle was the only other player in the 2019 World Cup to have made his debut in the 1990s. The Jamaican too played, perhaps, his last WC game.
"As I mentioned in my previous interviews, whenever I gave interviews, that I'm going to retire from World Cup cricket. Today was our last game, and I'm retiring from ODI cricket," Malik said in a statement made at a news conference.
"I had planned this for a few years ago to retire on the last Pakistan World Cup match. I'm sad that I'll be leaving the format of cricket that I once loved, but happy that I'll have more time to spend with my family. This will also allow me to focus on Twenty20 cricket.
"I would like to thank some of the most important people whose support and backing helped me through these 20 years of international cricket.
"Starting with the players I shared dressing rooms with, all the coaches I have under, my friends and family, the media, my sponsors, the Pakistan cricket board and Pakistan sports board.
"But most importantly, my fans. I love you all. Thank you."
Today I retire from One Day International cricket. Huge Thank you to all the players I have played with, coaches I have trained under, family, friends, media, and sponsors. Most importantly my fans, I love you all#PakistanZindabad 🇵🇰 pic.twitter.com/zlYvhNk8n0— Shoaib Malik 🇵🇰 (@realshoaibmalik) July 5, 2019
Malik insisted he is not disappointed to have made such little impact in his last World Cup, having taken a single wicket and scored only eight runs across three innings.
"I think, if you go through the whole thing, sometimes you come out with a performance, sometimes you don't," he added.
"But, of course, it's a big platform and expectations were high, but you don't perform that spot of life. I think life never stops, and I'm pretty satisfied with my ODI career," said Malik, bringing the curtains down on an ODI career that lasted two decades. Malik made his ODI debut in October 1999.
Pakistan ended this WC with a consolation win over Bangladesh and missed the bus to the semi-final by a whisker as New Zealand pipped the Men In Green to become the fourth team to make it to the semi-finals.