The question about Misbah
The question about Misbah-ul-Haq is why is there a question? Pakistan undefeated in a Test series since the shameful summer of 2010. Draws against South Africa and in the West Indies, away wins against New Zealand and Zimbabwe, and a 'home' success against Sri Lanka - a sequence of results that exceeds expectations. Misbah has the second-highest Test average for a captain after Don Bradman (minimum ten Tests). Why murmurings of discontent?
Some people are never happy. Others are only happy if Pakistan play a certain way: an aggressive, entertaining form of cricket that Pakistan's returning talisman, Shahid Afridi, has taken to an extreme. The best form of defence is attack, said Imran Khan, and the mentality of Pakistan cricket was transformed.
Curiously, Misbah has resurrected the defensive outlook of Pakistan teams before Imran's captaincy. It is a long step backwards and it feels unnatural. Pakistan turned down two borderline run chases in the recently concluded Test series against Sri Lanka. They batted slowly and set deep fields when they might have risked close-in fielders. In Sharjah, that defensive tack might have come unstuck had rain and bad light not intervened.
But it didn't. Luck has sided with Misbah; every successful captain is indebted to good fortune. As unnatural as turgid defence feels, it is a necessary evil in this current life of Pakistan cricket. A period of stability was required to shake an image of predictable unpredictability. Misbah's Pakistan are unpredictably predictable. It is a nasty medicine, a bitter taste, but improved results will rebuild confidence and respect.
The one-day series offers Misbah an opportunity to silence his critics and demonstrate his flexibility. His squad is packed with attacking cricketers, and the binary outcome of a limited-overs match must force Misbah to adopt a more positive outlook, surely? He might have an exasperating way of going about his job but Misbah, the king of dot balls, has played a valuable role in transforming the on-field fortunes of Pakistan cricket.
Questions about Misbah's suitability for the captaincy will persist, the nature of the beast is at odds with the mood of the herd, but sport is a results business first and Misbah has them aplenty to support his case for caution. The next question is whether Misbah's Pakistan develop a more expansive style once some stability and sanity has been restored?
All the best captains reinvent teams in their own image. The immediate image in my mind's eye is of Misbah prodding forward, dot-balling to his heart's content. I have other images too, swashbuckling almost reckless ones. This Misbah fellow might not be to everybody's taste but he is tenacious and capable of surprise.
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here