Misbah-ul-Haq and Pakistan Captaincy

Misbah-ul-Haq and Pakistan Captaincy

Tags: Pakistan, Misbah-ul-Haq Khan Niazi, Captaincy, PCB

Published on: Aug 05, 2011

After months of rumours before the World Cup, Misbah-ul-Haq was finally handed the one-day captaincy of the Pakistan national team after the former captain Shahid Afridi developed estranged relationship with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the team management. Afridi who had led a battered Pakistan squad to the semi-final of the prestigious International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2011, where the men in green were beaten by arch-rivals India, returned home as a conqueror and was expected to be retained by the cricket board.

After months of rumours before the World Cup, Misbah-ul-Haq was finally handed the one-day captaincy of the Pakistan national team after the former captain ShahidAfridi developed estranged relationship with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the team management.
Afridi who had led a battered Pakistan squad to the semi-final of the prestigious International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2011, where the men in green were beaten by arch-rivals India, returned home as a conqueror and was expected to be retained by the cricket board.
Afridi then went with the team to the West Indies, where his side sealed the five-match One Day International (ODI) series by taking the first three games. However, the last two games were lost by the tourists.
On his return back home, Afridi revealed that he had differences with the touring management over the selection of the playing eleven. This is believed to be Achilles’ heel for the 31-year old all-rounder as Ijaz Butt, the chairman of the PCB decided it was time for the hard hitting all-rounder to be replaced.
After receiving a detailed report from manager IntikhabAlam, the decision was finally taken and the realms of the national team were given to the test skipper, the middle order batsman Misbah.
While Misbah has been a splendidly talented batsman for Pakistan over the years, making him the captain of the 50-over squad is beyond comprehension. While teams all over the world look for younger players to lead their sides for a longer stint, Pakistan has done exactly the opposite by appointing the 37-year-old Misbah.
Perhaps, Butt has forgotten the role his chosen skipper played in the semi-final, where his lack of finding boundaries put enormous pressure on the batsmen who were with him in the middle and slowly the required run-rate reached to a point which was beyond anyone’s grasp.
The weirdest part of the prevailing situation is the fact that Misbah was almost written-off by the same PCB a year ago, where there was a general agreement within the PCB officials that Misbah had passed his prime and was of no use to the national team. He was then later recalled after the exclusion of Mohammad Yousuf to provide some experience in the middle-order.
There is no guarantee that Misbah will even be fit enough to play the next World Cup, so why has the PCB taken such an illogical decision? Perhaps in haste of dethroning Afridi, Butt could only think of Misbah’s credentials good enough to match with Afridi’s.
However, it will be better for the PCB to clarify if this is a transitional phase in which Misbah will be relinquished within a few months and replaced by a younger player, more suitably by opening batsman Mohammad Hafeez.

Hafeez is believed to have a good cricketing head and at the age of 30, he is a better option to captain Pakistan for a longer run, or at least until the next World Cup, which is to be played in 2015. Having said all this, retaining Afridi in the national team is still a better idea instead of writing him off, for good. Even at the age of 31, he is still among the fittest players in the Pakistani camp and it will be shame to let go of such a talented cricketer.

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