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Thursday, 25 May, 2000, 09:53 GMT 10:53 UK
Salim Malik: Tarnished talent
BBC Sport Online's Thrasy Petropoulos considers the career of Salim Malik, the former Pakistani captain who, like Hansie Cronje, was banned from the game for life.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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