Analysis – Thank You Misbah ul Haq!

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Misbah ul Haq is the prime example of ‘Slow and Steady wins the race’. He spent his youth in waiting than representing his country, he became a permanent member of the side at an age when people retire and is now considered an icon for the youngsters due to his persistence and determination at the age of 42, when others prefer the comfort of their drawing rooms.

But it hasn’t been smooth sailing for Captain Misbah; there was a time 5 years back when everyone wanted him out of the Pakistan side due to his slow batting in the semi-final of the World Cup; how can one forget the time when he was appointed the skipper despite opposition from all quarters; his decision to continue playing Cricket angered the pundits who called him ‘over the hill’ without giving him a chance. Yet he came back strongly –he led Pakistan to victories against every Test playing nation, scored the joint fastest Test century against the mighty Australians, and now that Pakistan has become the number 1 Test team in the world, we must take out time to thank the man for his services to the game. Thank You Misbah ul Haq!

It was Misbah ul Haq who persisted with Younis Khan instead of following his predecessors who were dead against the inclusion of the master batsmen – Younis Khan is not only the highest run scorer for Pakistan in Test Cricket but is considered a living legend by Experts of the game and the credit goes to Misbah.

It was because of this man that first Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman and later Yasir Shah and Zulfiqar Babar came out as spin twins for Pakistan; he used them wisely and whenever the chips were down, they delivered for their skipper. It was Misbah who pushed for the inclusion of Sarfraz Ahmed in the side and that helped Pakistan get rid of the Akmal-nexus of sloppy wicket-keepers.

No Captain in his right mind would have been able to turn things around for Pakistan without Mohammad Aamir, Mohammad Asif and Shoaib Akhtar (who retired in 2011). Yet it was Misbah who persisted first with Junaid Khan, then with Wahab Riaz and now with Rahat Ali who seems to have been replaced by the back-again Mohammad Aamir.

It was Misbah who went for the out-of-favour Sohail Khan instead of the successful Imran Khan and that paid off well; other captains would have dropped Yasir Shah after 2 failures in Test matches but Misbah isn’t any other captain. He continued with the leg spinner against England and Yasir replied in the best possible manner by taking a five-for in the series-levelling victory.

Misbah had faith in Asad Shafiq, so much so that he sent him at number 3 (number 4 due to promotion of Yasir Shah as night watchman) and asked Azhar Ali to bat as an opener. They both delivered with excellent performances and that helped boost the morale of the side ahead of the ODI series.

Only Misbah could win so many matches for Pakistan as skipper without playing a Test match at home. Only Misbah could train as hard as the youngsters and score a century on his first appearance at Lord’s. Only Misbah could have kept cool when things weren’t going in his favour because he knew that his time would come.

Only Misbah had the guts to change the final XI in the fourth Test against England, dropping his former deputy Mohammad Hafeez who proved to be the weakest link in Pakistan’s line up. We never appreciate his good work and blame him for most of the bad things that have happened to Pakistan Cricket in the last 5 years. It’s time to give the credit where its due; it’s time to say Thank You Misbah ul Haq, we would never have achieved the top position without you!

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Omair Alavi has been writing on films and sports long before the Internet became common in Pakistan. You will be able to read his insights about everything that has anything to do with either sports or entertainment.

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