Misbah ul Haq, Pakistan’s Test captain will use the PSL (2017) as a stage by which to make a decision about his international future and said that he is likely to take a call within the next month. Misbah is eager to charge his batting and hunger for the game as he leads Islamabad United, the defending champions, during the tournament’s second edition in the UAE.
Maybe in this month, he will make a decision to quit or at least give a certain date.
Misbah’s future has been the subject of ongoing rumor since that home series against England, but it has assumed greater necessity after Pakistan’s recent run of six repeated Test losses as well as his declining contributions with the bat. But as he has said on a number of occasions, he explained again that he continued to play on out of a sense of duty to the team he has built over the last six years.
Misbah has already captained Pakistan in more Tests than any other leader, and has also led them to the most number of wins (24) – he does, however, have more losses against his record than either Imran Khan or Javed Miandad, Pakistan’s other most successful captains. His contributions as a batsman have been significant as well, averaging 50.55 as captain. That places him in elite company in a list of the most successful batting captains of those who have played at least 75 Test innings.
Not that those numbers have shielded him from criticism. His batting style, especially, has been the focal point of criticism, even before his current run of low scores. Of late, however, those criticisms have stung him. He responded to Ian Chappell’s mocking critique of his captaincy in Australia and then after criticism in Pakistan, was compelled to tweet a clarification about a statement he had made in Australia which referred to the 1999-00 Pakistan side that toured Australia. He took the occasion to defend what has been derided as his traditional approach to batting.
In the middle order where I bat, it is important for me to bring stability whatever the situation,” he said. “If we are four down then being an experienced batsman I should go and anchor partnerships and try to rebuild. The idea always is to take the team to a respectable total on which our bowlers can give a fight.
But he feels angry when former players who have played the game at the highest level, whose understanding about the game is even better than him, still target my batting.
Misbah will turn 43 in May and was, until as recently as last summer among the fittest players on the side. Fitness is one of the areas Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur was keenest to work on when he took over. The lack of it is something that has told over the course of a long tour of Australia and it is an issue, Misbah said, on which there should be no negotiation.
It’s very important to think about how badly you want to play cricket and what your priorities are for cricket. If you are 19 or 20 and you are not doing enough on fitness, your priorities are not
Right, you are not performing then you should leave. In fact, you should be kicked out. It’s very simple.
Someone over 35 or 40, if he is physically fit, he can bring many advantages to the team because at this age you are mentally very strong, you have all the experience, temperament and exposure. So it’s all about what your priorities are, what your mindset and passion for the game are.