Leading the Pakistan team is one of the toughest jobs in the cricket world. Pakistan are currently in West Indies and the importance of the series is that after the Test series captain Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan will retire from international cricket.
Last week Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq completed silver jubilee of victories as the Test captain with a seven-wicket win against West Indies in Jamaica.
Without any doubt, Misbah is the most suitable person to lead Pakistan cricket team. He is a decent captain with a great personality. He’s done an admirable job, bringing stability and consistency to the team.
He was preferred over Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf as captain. Misbah proved his selection correct and transformed a demoralised Pakistan team into a fighting unit.
He will be remembered more for his achievements as captain than as batsman.
Unfortunately, he did not get an opportunity to lead the side at home. The terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009 isolated Pakistan. No international team has visited Pakistan since then.
Misbah deserves to be treated with honour and respect as he took the responsibility of a demoralised team.
During the tour of England in 2010, three players, Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, were caught in spot fixing. It was then that Misbah took over. The team had lost 10 of its last 15 Tests.
Misbah has been leading the Pakistan side for a record seven years. He became Pakistan’s first Test captain to win 25 Tests. He is the 12th most successful Test captain. He is also the oldest captain to win a Test in the last 70 years, and overall, the third oldest after WG Grace and WR Hammond.
Former South African captain Graeme Smith with 53 wins and former Australian captain Ricky Pointing with 48 wins are the most successful Test captains.
With Jamaica win, Misbah surpassed Michael Clarke, Andrew Strauss and Alistair Cook who won 24 Tests.
If Misbah wins the remaining two Tests against West Indies, he will join Sir Viv Richards, Hanse Cronje and MS Dhoni with 27 Test wins.
His victories mostly came with an inexperienced attack. Apart from former spinner Saeed Ajmal, no Pakistani bowler in the squad had 100 Test wickets.
Former Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson also praised Misbah’s captaincy and said that he believed “Misbah has the best cricketing brain within Pakistan and will do incredibly well”.
He is one of the few cricketers whose batting performance peaked after becoming captain. In 54 Tests as captain, he scored 4,050 runs at an exceptional average of 51.97, registering eight hundreds and 33 fifties. He had scored only 1008 runs in 19 matches when he was not skipper, at an average of 33.60. He had only two centuries and four half-centuries.
Misbah silenced his critics who accused him of being a defensive captain by equaling Viv Richards’ 56-ball hundred record. He also has the record of fastest Test fifty — off 21 balls and in 24 minutes, against Australia in Abu Dhabi.
During the first Test against West Indies, Misbah also completed his 5,000 Test runs. He is the seventh Pakistani to achieve this milestone.
Pakistan’s inconsistent top order made his job all the more difficult. In many matches, he had to come in to bat very early, with the innings needing consolidation after the loss of early wickets.
“I think everybody knows that there is not much time left in my career, so my priority is to play for Pakistan. I just want to play more and more international cricket because I know that I haven’t much time left in cricket. But whatever comes, I just want to play. I just want to enjoy it and play well for Pakistan,” said Misbah in an interview.