"Personal performance is key" : Misbah-ul-Haq

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Appointing a 36 year old who didn't feature at all in the last series as captain would under normal circumstances be an unusual and surprising move. However, these are far from being "normal" times in Pakistan cricketing circles. Words such as continuity and stability seem to be a distant and hazy memory. Captains are coming, captains are going, the door continues to revolve and nobody seems to know what is coming next and when the revolving door will stop.

If one looks at the options available to the PCB ahead of a tough series against a powerful South African side, Misbah-ul-Haq is not an entirely surprising choice as the latest incumbent to take on the challenge of the poisoned chalice otherwise known as the Pakistan Test captaincy.

Kamran Akmal has fallen foul of the selectors and is nowhere to be seen in either of the squads against South Africa, Salman Butt is of course under investigation for alleged spot-fixing. Shahid Afridi has once again retired from Test cricket. Twenty20 World Cup winning skipper Younus Khan continues his "skirmish" with the PCB and Mohammad Yousuf's last venture as skipper turned into a disaster on many counts. An untried and inexperienced captain at this juncture would have been like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming vehicle.

To say that Misbah does not deserve the opportunity to lead his country would be harsh on a man who is widely respected by his peers. He has an exemplary disciplinary record, has been playing domestic cricket for 12 years, and whose first-class record stands up to be counted with the greatest names in Pakistan cricket. An average of just over fifty, thirty two centuries and fifty three half-centuries are statistics that not even Mohammad Yousuf can match. The only thing missing is an extended run in the Pakistan side.

Misbah is widely recognised in domestic cricket as a thoughtful and popular leader, and last season led Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited to great success in the RBS Pentangular Cup. Under his shrewd and assured leadership, SNGPL defeated a formidable Habib Bank side by seven wickets in the final.

Speaking to PakPassion.net, Misbah, who is currently leading the Faisalabad Wolves in the Faysal Bank Cup Twenty20 competition, spoke of his delight and pride at being appointed skipper for the forthcoming Test series versus South Africa in the UAE.

"I'm absolutely delighted, it's a fantastic moment for me and I am extremely proud of the honour that has been bestowed upon me."

The challenge that has been presented to Misbah is an immense one, and many have succumbed to the pressure and demands of the job that is widely recognised as one of the hardest in the world of cricket. However, Misbah isn't putting himself under too much pressure and feels that his personal performance will help him deliver as captain.

"Personal performance is important. If I am playing well and scoring runs, then the captaincy should not present a problem to me. Captaincy is not easy in any format of the game, or at any level, but my most pressing concern is to perform well for the team."

Pakistan over the years have widely been recognised as a team that performs at its optimum when playing its unique brand of attacking cricket. Many fans and supporters of Pakistan cricket will hope that the attacking approach can once again be seen when Misbah takes over the reigns. However, the new captain feels that the tactics that he will adopt will be according to the match situation, rather than an all out attacking approach.

"My style of captaincy and approach will depend upon the match situation. South Africa are a very good side, and it will be a series where I will have to have my wits about me. A good captain knows when to attack and when to defend, it's almost like a sixth sense. He has to have that gut feeling on what he thinks may happen as a result of a bowling change, and have the knack of combining defence with attack, and to know when defence is the best form of attack."

Pakistan's batting woes during the series in England earlier this year were clearly evident. No batsman managed to score a century in the whole of the English summer, and the two players who recorded the highest batting average in the test series were rookie wicket-keeper Zulqarnain Haider - who only featured in one Test, at Edgbaston - and bowler Umar Gul, who averaged nearly 13 runs more than any of the frontline batsmen. However, Misbah is confident that on the batsman-friendly tracks of the UAE, the Pakistani batting lineup would not perform as miserably as they did in England.

"Conditions weren't easy in England. That was clear for everyone to see. I think it's a bit unfair to judge the batsmen solely on the tour of England, as batting appeared to be very difficult. The batsmen at my disposal are much better than their statistics in England suggest. The conditions in the UAE will be more akin to what the Pakistani batsmen are used to seeing, and I am confident that the batting lineup will deliver against South Africa."

England's Graeme Swann proved to be a thorn in the flesh of the Pakistan side, as the excellent off spinner bamboozled the Pakistani batsmen with his guile, flight and accuracy. Swann took wickets almost at will, and ended up with Test series figures of twenty two wickets at just over twelve runs apiece. However in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Misbah feels that it could be Pakistan's spinners who could be the aces in the pack.

"Our strength in the spin bowling department could be the key in the UAE. We have three spinners in the squad and all are different styles of spinners, so the variety is there. I'm really pleased with the spin options I have been given by the selectors, and I'm confident that our spinners will do well given the conditions and they could be the key component during the Test series. There should be turn and bounce on offer, and it's up to them to make the most of those conditions."

Despite his age, Misbah is widely regarded as one of the fittest cricketers in Pakistan, and also one of the finest fielders in Pakistani cricket. He confirmed to PakPassion that he has not set himself a target as to how long he can continue at the top level.

"It's difficult to say how long I can keep playing cricket, retirement is something that I have not contemplated and as long as I am enjoying my cricket, feeling physically fit and up to the rigours of international cricket, then I will continue. I haven't given myself a target of when I will call an end to my cricketing days."

Pakistan Chief Selector Mohsin Khan recently stated that Younus Khan was the selectors' first choice as captain, and that Misbah was only given the role after Younus was not given the green light to recommence playing for Pakistan. However, Misbah feels that he has nothing to lose and everything to gain during the series against South Africa.

"I'm not thinking too far into the future, what is the point of doing that. I'm entirely focused on the upcoming series against South Africa, and not putting any thoughts in my mind beyond the matches against South Africa. As they say, what will happen - will happen, I don't want to put undue pressure on myself by thinking too far ahead. Let's do well as a team against South Africa, and then we can think about future assignments."

Whatever the reasons and machinations behind the appointment of Misbah-ul-Haq as Test Captain, one thing that is quite evident is that this is a fantastic opportunity for Misbah to establish himself as the man at the helm of the Test side. A good personal performance and a strong team effort against South Africa could mean that it's Misbah who gets the nod in future as captain, irrespective of the outcome of the crises surrounding Salman Butt and Younus Khan.

<img src="http://www.pakpassion.net/gallery/files/3/0/0/1_31540.JPG" alt="Pakistan vs SA WC T20" />​
 
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A big thank you to Misbah for his time and also many thanks to Danny who is a good friend of PakPassion's for his help in making this interview happen.
 
Whilst on the surface it seems that the PCB have only appointed Misbah for the SA series, pending what happens with the Younus Khan "situation", an interesting scenario could materialise if Pakistan do well against South Africa under the leadership of Misbah.

Would the PCB stick with Misbah or turn back to Younus, or maybe even Salman Butt if he is cleared?
 
The guy couldn't perform well when he wasn't captain, how will he be able to perform with the added pressure of captaincy?

Misbah may well get some runs on the flat decks of UAE but once it gets to NZ (if he's still playing) he'll be a failure.

Misbah is not the solution but I guess, with no signs of YK returning, he was the only choice left. Best of luck to Misbah and the test team.
 
The guy couldn't perform well when he wasn't captain, how will he be able to perform with the added pressure of captaincy?

Captaincy can bring out the best in some people. :imran

I think Misbah is an ok choice given the circumstances but the long term problem Pakistan have is that they don't have enough players who have a solid enough spot in the team to become an obvious leader. Solid selection gives you a captain, Pakistan will continue with stop gaps until Butt is gone.
 
We should also recall shoaib malik, if not younis khan so that when misbah or the board messes up we atleast have a backup who is in the playing xi.

But on a serious note all the best of luck to misbah, I think he's a really good captain. I was watching a bit of the t20 match, and I was glad to see he was willing to put 2 slips in a t20 game when the fast bowlers were bowling well for the first 5 overs.
 
We should also recall shoaib malik, if not younis khan so that when misbah or the board messes up we atleast have a backup who is in the playing xi.

But on a serious note all the best of luck to misbah, I think he's a really good captain. I was watching a bit of the t20 match, and I was glad to see he was willing to put 2 slips in a t20 game when the fast bowlers were bowling well for the first 5 overs.

Bring Shoaib Malik back? Are you havin a laugh!
 
"Conditions weren't easy in England. That was clear for everyone to see. I think it's a bit unfair to judge the batsmen solely on the tour of England, as batting appeared to be very difficult. The batsmen at my disposal are much better than their statistics in England suggest. The conditions in the UAE will be more akin to what the Pakistani batsmen are used to seeing, and I am confident that the batting lineup will deliver against South Africa."

In other words our technique is not upto par in english conditions. We are simply flat track bullies and you will see proof of that in UAE.
 
Well spoken by Misbah. Given the circumstances a good choice. It seems he has some plans in place especially in the spin attack.
 
Well apart from bringing Younus back as captain, there wasn't much choice other than Misbah. Mohammed Yousuf is a terrible captain. Umer Gul doesn't seem to be the sharpest tool in the box when it comes to captaincy and there's literally no one else. So the PCB as usual made a blunder in not bringing back Younus. But I'm supporting Misbah now and hoping against hope that he can do a 2007 when he was again brought in at the expense of a world class batsman (MoYo) and ended up surprising the entire world. Here's hoping he does that again.
 
still hoping out for Younis to be included in the team but nothing but best wishes to Misbah.
 
"Personal performance is important. If I am playing well and scoring runs, then the captaincy should not present a problem to me. Captaincy is not easy in any format of the game, or at any level, but my most pressing concern is to perform well for the team."

I hope that Captaincy does bring the best out of Misbah as a batsmen.
 
Don't underestimate me as captain - Misbah

Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan's latest Test captain, has hit back at criticism over his surprising elevation, arguing that he hasn't even had the opportunity yet to show his capabilities as a leader. Misbah has at least two Tests as captain against South Africa in the UAE next month.

"I do not agree with what they [former cricketers] are saying, doubting my abilities as a captain, and saying I am not capable of delivering," Misbah told reporters in Lahore. "I know the task assigned to me is not easy. However, underestimating me as a captain and batsman is not fair as one always learns with time and improves."

Wasim Akram was one of those surprised by the decision to give Misbah, who is 36, charge of the Test team a day after he was named in the squad for the first time since the tour of Australia in 2009-10.

Misbah, however, said he had spent time away from the team training and preparing for any comeback. "I did not give up. I used to train to keep myself in prime form," he said. "And I was engaged in cricket because I was confident that I can make a comeback, which eventually happened."

The series against South Africa will be Pakistan's first since the controversy-ridden trip to England, during which then captain Salman Butt and fast bowlers, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, were provisionally suspended by the ICC over their alleged involvement in a spot-fixing scandal.

Pakistan had problems on the field as well, their batsmen struggling in bowler-friendly conditions; they were bowled for under 100 twice in four Tests and rarely made it past 200. Misbah, however, was confident of a better showing in friendlier conditions in the UAE.

"I think it's a bit unfair to judge the batsmen solely on the tour of England, as batting appeared to be very difficult," Misbah told Pakpassion.net. "The batsmen at my disposal are much better than their statistics in England suggest. The conditions in the UAE will be more akin to what the Pakistani batsmen are used to seeing, and I am confident that the batting lineup will deliver against South Africa."

With Amir and Asif missing in action, Pakistan's bowling attack will rely heavily on Umar Gul and the spinners - Saeed Ajmal, Danish Kaneria and Abdur Rehman. "Our strength in the spin bowling department could be the key in the UAE," Misbah said. "We have three spinners in the squad and all are different styles of spinners, so the variety is there. There should be turn and bounce on offer, and it's up to them to make the most of those conditions."

The fielding - shockingly shoddy in England - remains a concern, as Misbah - one of the side's best slippers - acknowledged. "We cannot overcome it [poor fielding] in short time as we have been lacking in this department for years," he said. "Only sincere efforts and hard work by players can bring improvement in fielding."

South Africa, on the other hand, are likely to be in their usual, top fielding form when the first Test begins in Dubai on November 12.
 
all his talk of 6th sense and attacking in defense, and defending in attack

leads me to think that Misba might be a little muddled in his thinking

here's to hoping he's not bashful and defensive -
 
I had a chat with a couple of the SNGPL boys about Misbah's captaincy and one thing that was reassuring was that they said, his preparation is excellent, always stays calm and doesnt panic.
 
Whose Vice Captain? Give it to Azhar! Groom him for the future.
 
Hopefully not, so powerful was that particular move that it corrupted the very soul of it's victim.
 
A huge opportunity for Misbah and who knows if Pakistan can do well in the test series versus SA, he could well be in charge for the foreseeable future.
 
Personal Performance is key....

I think we should just wait and see how well he does as a captain... he seems confident!

At least it shows that man has got his own dogma and is not afraid of saying it. Every single captain who has been appointed after the failings of his predecessors has repeated dthe same remedy for his way of reversing the situation and bringing success to team the underlying word being teeam. It is probably he way of shifting individual responsibilitgies of the players nd himself on to the o thers. Misbah has said something differentand probably he is right. If the individuals give better performances and concendtrate on improving their performance the results will eventually filter through in the team performances.
 
The old man is already showing his young charges (oh.. nvm :ajmal :kaneria :razzaq) how it's done.

123116.jpg
 
Misbah is doing well with the bat, lets hope tail can contribut some runs and misbah makes a big century here.
 
"Personal performance is important. If I am playing well and scoring runs, then the captaincy should not present a problem to me. Captaincy is not easy in any format of the game, or at any level, but my most pressing concern is to perform well for the team."

Top stuff from Misbah.

Leading from the front, batting with responsibility and showing team mates how it should be done.

ok his captaincy has not been eye catching, but his batting has been superb.

Huge respect to him.
 
Fair play to Misbah - he has stepped up and lead from the front

When the captain does well in his discipline then it makes his job easier
 
Misbah was really in a difficult situation when he was appointed skipper.

Many have said that he should not have been appointed captain and he was only a stop gap choice before Younus was handed the reigns again.

However he has shown that he can handle the pressure and lead from the front in test cricket.
 
"Personal performance is important. If I am playing well and scoring runs, then the captaincy should not present a problem to me. Captaincy is not easy in any format of the game, or at any level, but my most pressing concern is to perform well for the team."

I hope that Captaincy does bring the best out of Misbah as a batsmen .

Indeed it has :)
 
Performed when it mattered.Ideally you would like YK to skipper but Misbah may be the calming influence we need in our side.Was a rock in the middle-order,kept fighting and stuck it out vs the SA bowlers and scored vitals runs.

Grandpa Zindabad.
 
A very good job by the skipper. Did very well in 3 out of 4 innings. Let's hope our middle order continues to get stronger with the return of Yousuf.
 
Hayeee.... I'm thinking of ditching Salman Butt for a while and being the champion of Misbah's cause.... :heart:

JIYO MISBAH!
JIYO PAKISTAN!
 
What can I say :14: :14: :14:

First Hafeez, now Misbah

As long as guys coming back are performing, and performing consistently, how can we as fans complain?
 
We do have to remember these are flat tracks though. I sure as hell hope that Hafeez and Misbah, after 'performing' on (arguably) the easiest batting track(s) in the world, atleast perform HALF as good as that in conditions like New Zealand soon.
 
We do have to remember these are flat tracks though. I sure as hell hope that Hafeez and Misbah, after 'performing' on (arguably) the easiest batting track(s) in the world, atleast perform HALF as good as that in conditions like New Zealand soon.

Even though it is a flat track, it is still against the best bowling attack in the world, with the No. 1 bowler
 
certainly can't argue with his personal performances so far.

is doing a very good job, long may they continue.

:misbah
 
Good job so far inc test series against sth africa Hes proving his critics like me wrong
 
Very impressed, I for one certainly thought he would be a bust but well done Mr MBA
 
What an absolute legend. Captaincy bringing out the best in him.. should have captained the T20 final in 07. :misbah
 
The thing I like about Misbah is that he is an intelligent and calm guy and those attributes are shown up in his batting.

There's a certain reassurance when he's batting, no panic, a bit like Inzi.
 
The thing I like about Misbah is that he is an intelligent and calm guy and those attributes are shown up in his batting.

There's a certain reassurance when he's batting, no panic, a bit like Inzi.

The (Abdul) Haq School of Batting - alive and kicking !
 
Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan's latest Test captain, has hit back at criticism over his surprising elevation, arguing that he hasn't even had the opportunity yet to show his capabilities as a leader. Misbah has at least two Tests as captain against South Africa in the UAE next month.

"I do not agree with what they [former cricketers] are saying, doubting my abilities as a captain, and saying I am not capable of delivering," Misbah told reporters in Lahore. "I know the task assigned to me is not easy. However, underestimating me as a captain and batsman is not fair as one always learns with time and improves
."

Wasim Akram was one of those surprised by the decision to give Misbah, who is 36, charge of the Test team a day after he was named in the squad for the first time since the tour of Australia in 2009-10.

Misbah, however, said he had spent time away from the team training and preparing for any comeback. "I did not give up. I used to train to keep myself in prime form," he said. "And I was engaged in cricket because I was confident that I can make a comeback, which eventually happened."

The series against South Africa will be Pakistan's first since the controversy-ridden trip to England, during which then captain Salman Butt and fast bowlers, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, were provisionally suspended by the ICC over their alleged involvement in a spot-fixing scandal.

Pakistan had problems on the field as well, their batsmen struggling in bowler-friendly conditions; they were bowled for under 100 twice in four Tests and rarely made it past 200. Misbah, however, was confident of a better showing in friendlier conditions in the UAE.

"I think it's a bit unfair to judge the batsmen solely on the tour of England, as batting appeared to be very difficult," Misbah told Pakpassion.net. "The batsmen at my disposal are much better than their statistics in England suggest. The conditions in the UAE will be more akin to what the Pakistani batsmen are used to seeing, and I am confident that the batting lineup will deliver against South Africa."

With Amir and Asif missing in action, Pakistan's bowling attack will rely heavily on Umar Gul and the spinners - Saeed Ajmal, Danish Kaneria and Abdur Rehman. "Our strength in the spin bowling department could be the key in the UAE," Misbah said. "We have three spinners in the squad and all are different styles of spinners, so the variety is there. There should be turn and bounce on offer, and it's up to them to make the most of those conditions."

The fielding - shockingly shoddy in England - remains a concern, as Misbah - one of the side's best slippers - acknowledged. "We cannot overcome it [poor fielding] in short time as we have been lacking in this department for years," he said. "Only sincere efforts and hard work by players can bring improvement in fielding."

South Africa, on the other hand, are likely to be in their usual, top fielding form when the first Test begins in Dubai on November 12.

Was underestimated by everyone. Ends up retiring as the best ever captain frompakistan
 
His performances with bat almost all the time were excellent as captain and he always lead from front even if the way he went about it wasnt everyones cup of tea. The impact of him going from test side will be felt in next few years. But he was a good captain and batsmen and happy retirement to him and hope most PP appreciate what he gave to pakistan team.
 
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