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February 27, 2012

Pakistan v England 2012

The limit of Misbah's miracle

Kamran Abbasi
Misbah-ul-Haq reverse sweeps during his 14, Pakistan v England, 1st ODI, Abu Dhabi, February, 13, 2012
Misbah-ul-Haq was not able to replicate his success in the Tests in the UAE in the limited-overs games  © AFP
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Sometimes it is hard to make sense of defeat. On the brink of rescuing some dignity from the limited-overs half of England's tour, Pakistan threw away any hope of redemption. England bowled and fielded with great heart to underline their determination to remain the pre-eminent side in T20 cricket. But that is no solace for Pakistan fans who are understandably convinced that their team had done enough to win in Abu Dhabi.

A perplexing outcome was made more painful by the familiar sight of Misbah-ul-Haq fluffing another run chase. He wasn't the only culpable player although he was the most visible. Misbah has worked wonders with Pakistan cricket, particularly in the Test arena. He has brought stability to a capsizing vessel. He has been lauded for a whitewash of England in the Test series but he now faces a battle to save his captaincy in one-day cricket.

Misbah has been upset by criticism of his leadership, questioning the media's agenda against him. Misbah's cautious methods have certainly polarised opinion, although that legitimate debate has barely hindered the deserved acclaim that he has received for his record in Test cricket. But it is in limited-overs cricket that Misbah often strikes the wrong chord, out of tune with the match situation, a virtuoso playing to the wrong beat.

Some sections of the media might have an agenda against Misbah but that is a captain's lot. Unfortunately, the evidence of these one-day performances hasn't left Misbah with much sympathy for his case, especially once he linked his defence with support for Shoaib Malik. Pakistan has a strong tradition in limited-overs cricket; the fans know what to expect and are not easily deceived. Indeed, much of Pakistan's recovery in one-day cricket, culminating in the World Cup semi-final in Mohali, was during Shahid Afridi's captaincy.

Leadership is important in cricket, and cricket's different formats require different leadership styles. As such, the Pakistan Cricket Board does face a genuine dilemma. Misbah is clearly the right captain for Pakistan's Test team but he doesn't seem capable of adapting to cricket's shorter formats. If the PCB is in any doubt about the captain or any of its players it should ask itself what Australia would do? It might be harsh on Misbah, and everything he has achieved, but the long-term development of the team must come first.

Is this the limit of Misbah's and Pakistan's miracle?

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Islam on (May 12, 2012, 16:22 GMT)

Pls allow Shah zeb hassan and Tanveer ahmad in one day and 20 20 cricket. These are such a great player of Pakistan Cricket.

Posted by Afridi on (April 6, 2012, 18:02 GMT)

ICC T20 WC 2012 Squad for Pakistan Imran Nazir Nasir Jamshed Mohamed Hafeez Kamran Akmal(WK) Umar Akmal Shoaib Malik (C) Shahid Afridi Hammad Azam Anwar Ali Umar Gul Saeed Ajmal

Sub Mohamed Aamir (If he allowed to play) Abdur Razzaq Raza Hassan Ahmed Shezhad Aizaz Cheema

Posted by Sajjad Sarwar on (April 3, 2012, 6:01 GMT)

Misbah should leave the captaincy of Pak in T-20 and ODI. Give some chance to youngster to show his talent. As Captain in test series, Misbah is very effective captain

Posted by Farhan Ahamd on (March 30, 2012, 6:45 GMT)

Yeah i agree with what Aftab Qureshi and a lot others but the problem is when board do this .. aging a battle is start in the team players ... its a long story that Pakistan cricket is having... without any solution .. politics is every where no patriotism ... every one see only his own benefit not team's or country benefit...

Posted by Aftab Qureshi on (March 27, 2012, 20:08 GMT)

An appeal to Misbah: In the interest of pakistan cricket, please make it easy for the selectors and the Board and step down from the captaincy of ODI and T20 teams. Shahid Afridi, so long as he is contributing as a player, should assume leadership for the shorter versions of the game, with Hafeez "the Professor" deputizing him.

Posted by SN Qazii on (March 27, 2012, 15:55 GMT)

The suggestion by Amir Iqbal is good . What should be kept in mind is that there should be no non performing players in any Team under any format . There are a lot of very talented players who are waiting for opportunity to perform for Pakistan . Non performers such as Imran Farhat , Shoaib Malik under all formats and Misbah in ODIs and T20s should not be persisted after two years of non performance .

Posted by Amir Iqbal on (March 27, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

I also think that Awais Zia should be bought the ODI squad as he could be a ATTACKING OPENER and other side it could Hafeez as the more defensive approach and i am sure that will work and be better than nasir jamshed....look at india sehwag could be the attacking opener and tendulker the more defensice approach type opener.

Posted by Amir Iqbal on (March 27, 2012, 11:24 GMT)

I think that pakistan should follow england in setting the captains for the side. basically one captain for each format, this way the pressure is divided on each captain and they are able to focus on their own performance and also make their team perform even better because this way they will be worries about the stats and will always try keep a winning streak going. I would say:

TEST: MISBAH UL HAQ ODI: PROFESSOR MOHAMMED HAFEEZ T20: SHAHID AFRIDI

THIS WAY THE PRESSURE IS DIVIDED BETWEEN CAPTAINS AND THEY WOULD ALWAYS PERFORM WITH MORE RESPONSIBILTY

Posted by Waqas on (March 22, 2012, 18:01 GMT)

can any body confirm me how much referrals a team have in one innings during One Day International. ?? please give me proper reference. ( to my knowledge its one per side a innings)

Posted by Fair Dinkum on (March 22, 2012, 9:36 GMT)

Message for Mr. Whatmore : Recommendation is that there are too many Senior Players in the Pakistan Team who have been Non Performers for a long time . Take the case of Younus and Misbah they have not performed at better than one innings in six , specially in ODIs , since the last two years . The Pakistan Team needs to be re built f it has to improve in time for the next World Cup . The first focus for rebuilding the Team is that the averages for the last 15 innings as batsmen , bowlers need to be focused at to highlight the continuing decline in performance of senior players who need to be weeded out . There is good available talent which needs to be focused on and given the opportunity to so that they can prove themselves and the Team is rebuilt . The recent few successes of Pakistan are not because of the Captain Misbah but in spite of him .

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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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