7/19/10

Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik is set to replace outgoing skipper Shahid Afridi in the playing line-up for his team's second and final Test against Australia at Headingley.

Sources in the team management said Malik has managed to convince officials that he can contribute to the team's cause as Pakistan looks to square the two-match Test series after suffering a crushing 150-run defeat at the hands of the Aussies at Lord's last week.

Malik, one of the seniormost players in the Pakistan team following the exit of experienced batsmen like Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan, was dropped from the playing eleven for the opening Test after the team management found he was not showing seriousness in practice sessions.

The presence of his wife Sania Mirza, the Indian tennis starlet, was believed to be the major reason why the Pakistan team management decided that Malik was too distracted to give his best in the opening Test.

However, according to sources, Malik has shifted his focus completely to cricket and is all set to fill in for Afridi in the second Test. Afridi dropped a bombshell soon after the end of the Lord's Test match by announcing his retirement from Test cricket.

The only other change expected in the Pakistan eleven for the Headingley Test starting Wednesday is that of off-spinner Saeed Ajmal coming in for leggie Danish Kaneria.