Malik says tri-series to look forward to; targets India

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Karachi, June 1 (UNI) The first season of IPL has been a forgetful one for Shoaib Malik but the Pakistan skipper is confident that his team can upset India in the upcoming tri-series in Bangladesh that begins from June 8.

''The IPL is over for us and now I'm completely focused on the three-nation tournament in Bangladesh,'' Malik told reporters here yesterday.

Malik, who was unable to impress much during his IPL stint for Delhi Daredevils, returned home from Mumbai to get ready for the Bangladesh triangular that also involves in-form India.

Pakistan are scheduled to leave for Dhaka on June 5.

Malik has been under severe criticism and many believed that Malik didn't deserve to be Pakistan captain saying that the 26-year old all-rounder's poor performance in the IPL is a clear proof that he is not good enough to lead the national team.

Malik, however, downplayed all such criticism, saying that his morale was high in spite of a bad patch in the IPL.

''(In the IPL) I didn't get much opportunity.

''That is probably the reason behind my record (in the IPL).

But it hasn't affected my morale and I'm looking forward to playing in the triangular tournament in Bangladesh,'' he said. Malik will be at the helm of Pakistan's campaign in Bangladesh which will host the tri-nation series from June 8-14 in Dhaka.

The Pakistan skipper sat out of more than half of Delhi's IPL games including their high-profile semifinal against Rajasthan Royals in Mumbai on Friday night.

He was overlooked for the big game after a poor showing in the league stages of the multi-million-dollar tournament.

One of Malik's senior teammates Shahid Afridi also turned out to be a big flop in the IPL. Afridi, who featured for Deccan Chargers, later complained that he was under too much pressure to perform.

But Malik didn't offer any such excuse. ''We are all professional cricketers and I don't think there was any extraordinary pressure on us in the IPL,'' he said.

Malik further stressed that the IPL is a good addition in the international calendar. ''IPL is a welcome addition for cricketers and cricket fans all over the world. Its success shows that Twenty20 cricket is here to stay.'' UNI XC RAR PDT PM1145

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