Malik keen to regain his all-round skills in Asia Cup

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Lahore, Jun 23 (UNI) After a series of poor performances, both with the ball and the bat, Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik has claimed that the Asia Cup tournament that tees off tomorrow will see him return to his role as an all-rounder.

Malik has been under some serious criticism as many former Pakistani players believe that the captain cannot earn a place in the team as a specialist batsman alone and should also bowl enough overs to justify his place in the playing XI.

''I will bowl (in the Asia Cup),'' Malik told reporters yesterday when asked whether the inclusion of uncapped off-spinner Saeed Ajmal means he (Malik) does not plan to bowl in the tournament.

''I will be playing as an all-rounder,'' he added and indicated that he might come up the order to open the innings with Salman Butt in the absence of wicketkeeper batsman Kamran Akmal.

The Pakistani skipper further added that his team would look to exploit the home advantage but agreed that the conditions would not be very much different for all the participating teams as all are from Asia.

''We will have a slight edge as we will be playing at home but I don't believe it would be a big advantage because conditions are almost the same everywhere in the sub-continent.

''The conditions here are much better that what we experienced in Bangladesh,'' he noted.

The hard-hitting all-rounder Shahid Afridi was declared fit to play in the six-nation tournament by his captain yesterday.

Malik said after his side's recent victory over arch-rivals India in the recent tr-series in Dhaka, the expectations of the home fans are high.

''Yes, the people are expecting us to win (the title). That will pose some extra pressure but we are professionals and know how to handle it,'' he concluded.

UNI XC RAR KP1143

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