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May 11, 2011

Pakistan in West Indies 2011

Misbah at history's threshold

Kamran Abbasi
Misbah-ul-Haq brought out the reverse sweep, West Indies v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Barbados, April 28, 2011
The ODI series ended with Pakistan winners. Can Misbah-ul-Haq lead his team to glory in the Test series?  © AFP
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Is Misbah-ul Haq about to achieve what Imran Khan couldn't? Misbah, whose Mohali innings doesn't become any easier to swallow with the passage of time, has a sumptuous opportunity to win Pakistan's first ever Test series in the West Indies. A drawn series against South Africa and a success in New Zealand suggest that Pakistan should be too strong for these hosts, although nothing is ever certain with this team.

The recent one-day series reminded us of Pakistan's fluctuations, and suggestions of a selection dispute between Shahid Afridi and Waqar Younis are ill-timed tidings. But Pakistan's opponents are so weakened that Misbah's team surely cannot fail to take advantage?

Much will depend on the captain himself, especially as he is surrounded by inexperience in the middle order. Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq have already impressed with their level-headed approach but they are new to international cricket, making Umar Akmal look an unlikely veteran.

Misbah does, however, have the professorial experience of Mohammad Hafeez to call upon. Hafeez is living the dream he dreamt for himself a decade ago: Pakistan's go-to man at the top of the order and handy spinner. Aamir Sohail must finally feel vindicated, having championed Hafeez's cause -- to great ridicule -- when Hafeez first entered international cricket.

While the batting appears solid but unspectacular, a welcome development in itself, Pakistan's bowling carries great threat for an unproven West Indian side. Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, and Saeed Ajmal are a match-winning triumvirate for Pakistan, the men most likely to achieve a historic victory in this low-key series. Pakistan expects but the team doesn't often deliver.

Now Misbah's Pakistan is not a team of stars or glamour, although it does boast a man from fashionable Abbottabad. The captain himself is an enigma, a curious performer and a dependable fellow. This unlikely band of cricketers is perched on the threshold of history thanks to the ineptitude of their opponents. Incredible as it sounds, where Imran the Cornered Tiger failed, Misbah the Mohali Goat might succeed.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Posted by Masood on (June 5, 2011, 6:14 GMT)

I have said this before and I will say it again. Indis did not win in Mohali, Pakistan lost. A hollow victory if ever there was one. The Indian player of note was Sehwag for taking the fight to Umar Gul and deflating him. No other Indian deserved to be on the winning side that day. Mind you, with Misbah playing for India that day too it put the game Indias way.

All Indians should note, that we are a threat and will come back at you maul you brother. Even without the banned players and the ones retired too early because of the PCB (Mohd Yousaf) we still gave you a game. How would India have really fared with the same disadvantage, not to mention the hostile away crowd.

Posted by shamim Akhtar on (June 4, 2011, 11:30 GMT)

Umar Akmal is having a brilliant talent Pakistan should give him chance after chance Insha Allah he will prove himself later as a world class batsman really i like him his fielding , his hard hitting ability , his talent ,Insha Allah he will be Pakista,s future captain.

Posted by tanweer haidar mirani on (June 4, 2011, 1:58 GMT)

oh, really good words for a man who is now 37 years old, but is great player of temperament, he has prove himself capable of doing something for pakistan, he is sometime unlucky of making match frm zero and then could not finish it properly, he is bit shy to play strokes cause only one stroke can put u out of pakistani team, this is big factoer, try to get my points here in this short wording.

Posted by Rana on (May 29, 2011, 13:20 GMT)

Hey guys dont crticize Misbah for Mohali debacle. What Younis Afridi Razzaq had done in that match Misbah held his nerves when all other failed. Wish u best of luck Misbah my hero.

Posted by shayan on (May 18, 2011, 21:47 GMT)

misbah is a very good captain he gave very good performance in test captancy since he is captain against SA newzealand he has good skills atleast he stable our team after a long time.

Posted by aamir ahmed on (May 18, 2011, 12:40 GMT)

misba and afridi must retire now.thy dnt giv performance just thy fight on captin ship

Posted by Nomi on (May 18, 2011, 12:03 GMT)

Our team problem is batting bfr many of the years. If we look at the past then we see that we loose only because of batting no one try to improve Pakistan's batting even Javed MianDad. Actually anyone just comment like me. i.e Amir Sohail,Wasim Akram....... What they do when they are in Pakistani team?Amir Sohail 1996? Wasim Akram 1999? Even they done a lot for Pakistani team, but what they do at the end?... What they do in their whole carier?..When Pakistani battind try to do hard work as bowling doo..then m sure In Sha ALLAH no team is able to beat Pakistan Cricket team... And why Muhammad Yousaf is not in team???Why Asim Kamal is not in team?????

Posted by Nomi on (May 18, 2011, 11:50 GMT)

Misbah is a good test player but not able be a good captain. Miss Muhammad Yousaf..........

Posted by mashhood on (May 18, 2011, 9:57 GMT)

misbah the greatest batsman for pakistan all the time we need misbah to lead in odi also not in ttwenty but in odi,test match he need yousuf.younus,in test plz dont play salman he has no talent for batting and bowling also

Posted by AUK on (May 17, 2011, 18:05 GMT)

When your cricketer board declares player power is broken, beware! It means butt-power is here. They'r bringing in youngsters???? MIsbah is 36 dude, so much for a youngster. Misbah plays like he's playing in the early 20s. Modern cricket is not about scoring 50 runs off 150 balls. At least afridi is a little flamboyant...

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the international editor of the British Medical Journal. @KamranAbbasi

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