Veteran Pakistan batter Shoaib Malik is preparing for a return to domestic cricket by joining the Sialkot Region for the upcoming National T20 Cup, set to kick off on November 24.
As per a media report, the 41-year-old player is eyeing a comeback to the Pakistan national cricket team for the 2024 World Cup. His strategy involves focusing on displaying his skills in the domestic arena to secure this opportunity.
Shoaib Malik reportedly also left his contract with New York Strikers for the 2024 season of the Abu Dhabi T10 league.
The report added that Malik's intention to captain the Sialkot Region in the upcoming T20 tournament since he has previously tasted success with the Sialkot Stallions in various National T20 Cups held in the past.
Additionally, Malik is scheduled to take part in a practice match leading up to the domestic T20 Cup. However, during a recent local event with the media, he highlighted the necessity for clarity regarding his potential selection in the national squad.
"If I will be given clarity and will be asked to play, then I will definitely consider," Malik asserted, indicating that a clear communication from the cricket authorities would be a deciding factor in his return.
The all-rounder clarified that his motivation to continue playing is not solely based on playing the 2024 World Cup.
"It isn't like I am playing cricket because I want to play in the 2024 World Cup. I am playing cricket because I enjoy playing cricket and I can play cricket,” he concluded.
It must be noted that the National T20 Cup 2023 is scheduled to start on November 24 and run till December 10 in Karachi.
As many as 18 teams will play a total of 63 T20 matches in the competition. These 18 participating teams have been divided into four groups. While Group A and B comprise five teams, Group C and D feature four teams each.
As per the schedule, each team will play the other sides in their group once. The top two teams from each group will advance to the Super Eight stage.
In the Super Eight round, each team will play the other sides once in a round-robin format.
The top four teams in the standings will qualify for the semi-finals. The winner of the two semi-finals will clash in the National T20 Cup 2023 final to be held on December 10.
NBP Sports Complex, UBL Sports Complex, National Bank Stadium and State Bank of Pakistan Sports Complex are the four venues that will host all the matches of the upcoming T20 tournament.
Sindh won the previous edition of the National T20 Cup in September 2022. They defeated Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by eight wickets in the 2022 final.