By Bipin Dani
Afghanistani opener Abdul Malik's Test debut on Wednesday (against Zimbabwe in Abu Dhabi) was not a memorable one.
The right hand batsman, who will turn 23 next week joined the company of KR Rutherford (NZ v WI Port-of-Spain 1985), Saeed Anwar (Pak v WI Faisalabad 1990), DP Viljoen (Zim v Pak Bulawayo 1998) and R Chandrika (WI v Aus Kingston 2015) and became the 5th player to beg a "pair" on Test debut as opener.
"I can definitely relate to what he is feeling. I have no doubt he has worked extremely hard to gain selection and would probably be feeling that he has let his team down and is not good enough to play at Test level", the former left-hand batsman, Dirk Viljoen, speaking exclusively over the telephone from Zimbabwe, said.
The victim further adds : "My advice to him is to trust the system. Know that he was selected cause the selectors believe in him. The result today is part of being a mature cricketer. It takes time. Keep working hard and learn from this experience. It will make you stronger mentally. He will get more chances to showcase his skills".
"Unfortunately as batsmen, people record when you get a pair. But if a Test bowler on debut bowled in 2 innings and didn't get a wicket, is that recorded as a pair? No it is not", he further added.