(Reuters) - Pakistan batsman Shoaib Malik is to retire from test cricket at the end of the current match against England in Sharjah to give the country’s younger players a chance, he said on Tuesday.
Malik, 33, made a shock return to test cricket at the beginning of the three-match series in the United Arab Emirates, marking his comeback with a career-best 245 in Abu Dhabi.
He has since scored 47 runs in five innings, including a golden duck in his last one on Tuesday, but he did record his best test bowling figures of four for 33 on the day he announced his retirement.
“We have some good youngsters and now is the time to retire,” Malik, who has scored more than 1,800 runs in 35 tests since his debut in 2001, told reporters.
Writing on his website (www.shoaibmalik.com) he said he felt he could continue playing test cricket for “quite a few more years” but considered it was time to let the next generation gain experience alongside Pakistan’s established players.
“I‘m giving up my spot for new talent,” he said.
Referring to his surprise call-up for the current series in the UAE, Malik said: ”I was in a delightful shock when my name was added to the test squad after the Zimbabwe series.
“All I can say for sure is that test format is a real test.”
He added that he wanted concentrate now on the 2019 World Cup (when he will be 37), saying: “Mentally, I had kind of retired from test format some time back, as I decided to focus only on one-days and T20s.”
But he said he also wanted to spend “quality time” with his family, who he said had paid the price for allowing him to “live my dreams”.
Reporting by Neville Dalton, Editing by Ed Osmond and Ken Ferris