There is almost no role in a cricket side that Shoaib Malik hasn’t filled, so much so that over ten years into his career, nobody is sure what his precise and best role is.
In essence, he is a batting allrounder, though he started his career as an off-break bowler. Partly the problem is that he is capable, as a batsman, of fulfilling many roles with some competence. He has had success as an opener in Tests and ODIs; he has been game-changing as a limited-overs one down and dangerous as a lower-order slogger; often he has been a stodgy middle-order bulwark. In Twenty20s, he can be brutal anywhere.