Saleem Malik is a former Pakistani cricketer who played right-handed batsman and right-arm medium pacer on occasion. He was widely regarded as one of the most skilled batsmen of his time, but his final years were marred by a match fixing scandal.
Malik was born in the Pakistani city of Lahore on April 16, 1963. In the 1978-79 season, he made his domestic debut. Selectors were drawn to his dexterous wristwork and aggressive demeanour.
Malik made his One-Day International debut against the West Indies in Sydney in January 1982 as part of the Benson and Hedges World Series. He didn’t have a great start in ODIs, but he lit up the stage in his Test debut against Sri Lanka in Karachi in 1982, scoring a gritty century in the second innings.
Rise to Glory
Malik was a middle-order anchorman who also led the Pakistan team for a period of time. His graceful strokeplay won him a Test average of 43.69.
His quickfire 140 against New Zealand in Wellington in 1994 was one of his most memorable performances away from home. In 1987, he played a key role in Pakistan’s victory over England on home soil.
One of his most notable performances came against India in Kolkata in 1987, when he led Pakistan to victory in an unexpected run chase. Pakistan prevailed with two balls to spare after he crushed 72 of 36 balls.
In 1992, he was a member of the World Cup-winning team. His willow did not produce the charm he had hoped for, with just a single half-century against Sri Lanka to show for it.
However, after Imran Khan retired following the World Cup triumph, he was elevated to captaincy.
Saleem Malik was nearing the end of his illustrious career when reports of match fixing began to emerge. Shane Warne and Tim May, both Australian cricketers, pleaded against him, charging that they were given a bribe to throw a Test match away in 1994.
Many further accusations and facts emerged, and in 2000, he earned the dubious distinction of becoming the first cricketer ever to be suspended from playing due to match fixing allegations.
After an inquiry by Justice Qayyum, the decision was reached. After all of the humiliation and embarrassment, he actually saw the light at the end of the tunnel as he was acquitted by a lower Pakistani judge.
Saleem began his domestic cricket career with the Habib Bank Limited team. During his time with Essex from 1991 to 1993, he improved as a batsman. In his first season, he hit close to 2000 home runs with a 60.70 batting average.
Malik represented Pakistan in 102 Tests and 283 One-Day Internationals. He has 5768 Test runs and 7170 ODI runs to go with 89 ODI wickets. In Rawalpindi, he recorded his highest Test score of 237 against Australia.