Unfit Malik played SL match to honour my request: PCB chief

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Lahore, Jul 5 (UNI) Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Dr Nasim Ashraf has revealed that Shoaib Malik played the crucial Asia Cup match against Sri Lanka on his request despite being unfit.

The PCB chief was rebutting criticism of the Pakistan skipper's commitment.

''I asked Shoaib to play that match, to meet the challenge and lead the team since the boys needed him to fight from the front,'' Ashraf was quoted as saying by the local media here. ''Shoaib played that match with high blood pressure and when he came back after batting, he had to lie in the dressing room with ice on his head.

''But unfortunately some people have doubted Shoaib's commitment which is not fair.'' Malik scored a resolute 52 off 79 balls in the 64-run defeat to Sri Lanka in the Super four match on June 29.

The chairman reiterated that the future of both Shoaib Malik and coach Geoff Lawson were safe and they would be completing their tenure.

''Pakistan is a young team which is improving gradually and I have already said that it will take about two years to fully blossom,'' he stated.

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