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Thursday, 25 May, 2000, 09:53 GMT 10:53 UK
Salim Malik: Tarnished talent
Salim Malik: Full of grace and power
BBC News Online's Thrasy Petropoulos considers the career of Salim Malik, the former Pakistani captain who now faces the prospect of a life ban.

The most graceful Pakistani batsman during the two decades in which he played international cricket, Salim Malik illuminated the middle order of whichever team he represented with intoxicating simplicity.

Ever composed, precise and nimble on his feet, and silky smooth in his timing all around the wicket, it was almost too easy for the boy from Lahore.

Salim Malik: The player
Test debut aged 18 in 1982, made 100
103 Tests, 15 centuries, average of 43.69
283 one-day internationals, five centuries, average of 32.88
Skippered Pakistan in early 1990s
Made highest Test score of 237 in 1994 before match-fixing allegations made about him
He first toured with Pakistan on the 1981/82 trip to Australia, and became one of the select band of cricketers to score a century on his Test debut in 1982.

The innings came during the second innings of a Test match against Sri Lanka in Karachi.

But the most striking thing about the young Malik was the enthusiasm with which he threw himself into each contest and the popularity he enjoyed with his team-mates.

He toured England in 1982, although he failed to make the Test side.
Salim heads for 237
Salim's 237 is not the most famous incident from the 1994 series

And, after a slightly meandering start, Malik established himself as the fulcrum to the middle order in Australia in 1984 when he hit two high-class half-centuries in three Tests.

But it was against England that Malik produced some of his most memorable innings.

A forgotten feature of the Faisalabad Test match where Mike Gatting and umpire Shakoor Rana had their famous altercation was Malik's patient and mature 116. He ended that series with 322 runs at 53.66.

In England a year later, he was easily Pakistan's most consistent batsman, scoring a vital 99 in the series-deciding second Test match at Headingley, and 102 in the final Test at The Oval.

Salim Malik: The controversy
Feb 1995: Waugh, Warne and May allege that Malik offered bribes in 1994
Oct 1995: Pakistani judge clears Malik but Australian and Pakistani cricket boards not satisfied
Sept 1998: PCB find Malik guilty a month before Waugh and Mark Taylor give evidence to judicial commission
Jan 1999: May and Warne's turn to face Pakistani authorities, this time in Melbourne
Apr 1999: Malik left out of World Cup squad but then reinstated
May 2000: News of the World makes new allegations, judicial commission recommends life ban
Though not as important in terms of establishing Pakistan's continued dominance over England, Malik was more impressive still when he returned in 1992.

The summer's tour to saw him scoring 488 runs at 81.33 in five Tests and 1,184 at 78.93 on the tour.

The previous year, as Essex's overseas player, he had dominated the county championship with 1,184 runs at 73.03.

As a batsman whose reputation was built on elegance, an important part of his making 103 Test appearances is easily overlooked - his bravery against the quickest bowling.

In 1986 he emerged to face the West Indies pace attack with a broken arm.

Having captained Pakistan under-19 and other representative sides, and as a central part to the batting order, Malik was always likely to assume the national team captaincy sooner or later.

Salim (centre) celebrates victory in the ill-fated Karachi Test

He did so in 1993/94 but was relieved of the post the following year after a disappointing tour of South Africa.

He had also by then been accused by Shane Warne, Mark Waugh and Tim May of trying to bribe them to bowl badly in the home series against Australia in October 1994.

As allegations of match-fixing and attempted bribery trickled out of the cricket world, Malik's name cropped up time and again, although he has continued to deny any involvement in any impropriety.

Possibly the greatest insight to his character came during his troubled period of captaincy.

Against Australia he played possibly his best, certainly his most courageous, innings - a match-saving 237 against Warne in his prime.
Shane Warne
Warne ponders his next move during the 1994 tour

Malik was reprieved by an inquiry into the claims of match-fixing in 1995.

But the allegations of match-fixing finally caught up with Malik when he was overlooked by the Pakistani selectots for a year up to September 1998 following further allegations.

Malik has been a survivor over the years, partly due to the complexities of Pakistan's selection procedures.

But he earned a surprise reprieve during the last World Cup in which he took his one-day tally to 283 appearances, 7,169 runs and 89 wickets, mostly with leg-breaks.

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See also:

23 May 00 | England v New Zealand
ICC asks paper for Salim tapes
22 May 00 | England v New Zealand
Salim disowns Aussie fixing claim
04 May 00 | Cricket
Cricket under the microscope
19 Apr 00 | Cricket
'Cronjegate': A timeline
24 May 00 | Cricket
Malik guilty of match-fixing
24 Jul 99 | Cricket
Pakistan cricket in crisis
08 Dec 98 | Cricket
Aussie stars 'secretly' fined
09 Jan 99 | Cricket
May backs cricket bribery claims
08 Jan 99 | Cricket
Waugh pocketed 2,600 for tip-off
25 May 00 | Cricket
'Fixing' sanctions could increase
07 Oct 98 | Cricket
Waugh - that's all I've got to say
01 Jan 99 | Cricket
Malik maintains innocence
17 Jul 99 | South Asia
Pakistan cricket board suspended
15 Sep 99 | Cricket
Wasim back as Pakistan captain
22 May 00 | England v New Zealand
Aussies probe new Malik claims
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