Misbah at history's threshold
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