July 21, 2013

Enough about Misbah already

Pakistan needs to look beyond the captain at the real problems that afflict the team
45

Misbah: the focus of Pakistan's attention
Misbah: the focus of Pakistan's attention © AFP

One January morning in Lahore, a well-groomed young man, having walked up Davis Road to the Mall, turned to Charing Cross. His hair was sleek and shining and he wore sideburns. His thin moustache seemed to have been drawn with a pencil. He had on a brown overcoat with a cream coloured half opened rose in his buttonhole and a green felt hat which he wore at a rakish angle. A white silk scarf was knotted at his neck. One of his hands was slipped into a pocket of his overcoat while the other held a short polished cane which every now and then he twirled jauntily. (Excerpt from Ghulam Abbas' short story "Overcoat", translated by CZ Abbas)

One of Pakistan's greatest writers started his most popular story with these lines. I was reminded of his work earlier this week, while watching Pakistan's tour of the West Indies. Those of you who have been following this series are well aware that it is the largest televised event of competitive mediocrity since Simon Cowell's last show.

The question that came to mind while watching Pakistan bat in the first two matches had to do, inevitably, with the captain, Misbah-ul-Haq.

Misbah has spent almost all of the last year (and indeed his captaincy) coming in to bat within the first Powerplay; all three openers dismissed, and the score lower than a news channel's sense of ethics. He has then proceeded to play at a very slow pace, and sought to consume deliveries while minimising the risk of further losses.

The question therefore was whether this is the only way Misbah can bat, or if he has had no other option but to bat in such a manner.

For his fanatical followers, battling in a reactive, defensive style is the only recourse available to him because of the situations he faces. They argue that without Misbah's constant rearguard heroics, the team would keep breaking the record for the lowest conceivable total. They further point out that he has shown his ability in domestic tournaments (and earlier in his career) to play the big shots, and that it's the cruelty of circumstances that prevent him from bringing out this aspect of his batting in the international game.

For the multitude of Misbah's detractors, however, the glass is half-empty, poisoned, or perhaps even a figment of the imagination. They claim that Misbah doesn't know to bat any other way, and if he did, he has long forgotten it. They claim that his approach has suffused the team so deeply that erstwhile go-getters like Nasir Jamshed have also tamed their strike rates. And most importantly, they hold Misbah's approach to be the reason for Pakistan's miserable failures of late, arguing that not only is his style killing all flair, but that his approach means that any batsmen coming after him have too much on their hands to try to increase the run rate and don't deliver a competitive score.

It was during the middle of one such debate that I first thought of "Overcoat". At the story's conclusion, Abbas' protagonist is involved in a car accident. When he is taken to the hospital and his clothes are removed, we see the truth revealed about him.

Beneath the scarf, there was neither a tie nor a collar ... not even a shirt. When the overcoat was removed, it was found that the young man was only wearing an old cotton shirt, full of holes. Through these holes, one could see the dirty vest in an even worse shape than the shirt. The young man had wrapped the silk scarf in such a way that it concealed most of his neck and chest. Layers of dirt covered his body. He could not have had a bath for at least two months. Only the upper part of his neck was clean and scented.

The young man had been a pauper who had meticulously crafted his outward, debonair appearance to cover up his impoverished reality. And this is where #TeamMisbah comes in.

The debate in Pakistan so far is between one set of people that believes Misbah is the only person holding this terrible team together, versus another set that feels Misbah is the reason the team is so terrible. In essence, Misbah is either the lovely, fragrant overcoat or the tattered, sullied body underneath it.

Unfortunately, such a view obfuscates the larger, necessary debate. When we finish reading "Overcoat", we do not feel contempt for the protagonist, because his deception was not malicious. The contempt we feel is towards our own obsession with appearances, and how debilitating that can be.

We need to look beyond either crucifying or beatifying Misbah, and think about the reasons that have caused our team, and particularly its batting, to regress so alarmingly. We need to discuss issues of governance in our board, failures in our coaching and management, the sickening approach to selection, and the abdication of responsibility by the ICC and other boards. We need to talk about structural solutions, long-term plans for players and coaches, templates and institutions for guaranteeing success. To debate one player above all else is to be precisely the sort of short-sighted judgemental fools that Abbas exposed so masterfully.

For the good of Pakistan cricket, it's about time we looked beyond our overcoats.

Ahmer Naqvi is a journalist, writer and teacher. He writes on cricket for various publications, and co-hosts the online cricket show Pace is Pace Yaar. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • salman.ali.rai on July 22, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    Good write from Mr. Naqvi. I think Misbah has evolved as a batman in this year. If I remember correctly, before the SA series he mentioned of playing aggressively from then on and the results are for every one to see. He was indeed scoring runs before as well but being a bit more positive in his game has made him a dynamic batsman. He batted very well in the two ODIs we won against SA and then followed it up in yesterday's ODI. Previously it was all about staying on the crease, but now he seems to be much more busy on the crease. His captaincy on the other hand (including team selection and field placements) still needs a lot to be desired and hope it can evolve the same way his batting has.

  • on July 23, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    Pakistan is in the same problem that India faced for a long time. A set of reliable openers is needed. Going down 30 for 3 inside 15 overs means that most of the other batsmen do only a repair job. Pakistan needs to decide how to play 50 overs cricket. First, they have to last 50 overs. Pakistan does not feature the top 5 run accumulators in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy in any team of theirs. Nasir Jamshed is a talented player & can be persisted with but at 2 & 3 Pakistan need a typical technically sound grinder who will look to play the 50 overs. After that the Afridi's & Akmal's can take the attack to the opposition. How to play? That is the question.

  • karachikhatmal on July 23, 2013, 8:05 GMT

    @Anushrut Ramakrishnan Agrwaal A valid critique. I think the title slightly misleads though, since my intention was to talk about the debate and its pointlessness, rather than offer solutions or indeed details on where to look next.

    Lots of really interesting points in here, and I think the questions over Misbah's tactics are valid to an extent too. But we are also in an era of quite reactive captaincy (i think) and Misbah has used his bowlers in particular a lot better than many other captains.

    But I think if (as the PCB seems to have decided) Misbah's going to be captain in WC2015, there needs to be a lot of work done to identify and develop the core of the side. Afridi, as much as I worship him, has no place in this side now let alone two years down the line. And Hafeez, if he stays, needs to be no. 5 or below battling. We need a lot of other youngsters to be blooded in ASAP.

  • RaadQ on July 23, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    I think Umar Akmal should be promoted up the order, so that if there is an initial collapse he and Misbah can steady the ship. This will allow Pak to rescue initial collapses without losing the RR too much. Then Haris Sohail should come in, he is talented enough to compliment either. Finally, I believe Hafeez should come in, by this time the ball would have lost movement and he can score more runs. My batting order: 1. Shehzad 2. Jamshed 3. Umar Akmal 4. Misbah 5. H Sohail 6. Hafeez 7. Afridi. By WC 2015, hopefully Shafiq can take over Misbah's anchor role and Hammad Azam or Umar Amin can replace Afridi as a pacing allrounder, since Hafeez is good enough as an spinning allrounder. Another possible replacement for Misbah as anchor is Azhar Ali.

  • on July 22, 2013, 23:57 GMT

    my comments are rarely posted on this website perhaps its selection policy is on par with pakistan cricket selection in which case my non selection is; I have not heaped praise on the author. Any how, Misbah is a poor captain, poor tactician and very often makes suspicious selection such as that of wahab riaz. The debate remains on him due to his poor showing in the champion league and his inept ability to take control in difficult situations.

  • on July 22, 2013, 22:59 GMT

    It is a pity that 40 yrs old is our best batsman. The problem is that we can't identify young talent and give them enough chances. We tend to give 2 or 3 matches and then we drop them. Asad Shafique is a good example. He looks a complete player. But not getting a proper opportunity. While umar Amin is another talent. We need to give these players 10-15 matches in one go. Invest in young talent. While afridi should only get selected for t20. They need to find batting all rounder for no7 spot. Shoaib malik, umar Amin or Hamad azam can do the job.

  • on July 22, 2013, 21:59 GMT

    Misbah in last few months whenever has come to bat he has hold the innings together. Its amazing to see a Pakistani batsman as consistent as Misbah. He has without any partner in the team has been Pakistan's batting HERO since WC 2011 . Hafeez has one good series and then poor run in 10-12 matches. Younas Khan in Odi's by a distance has not stood to his class, in Tests he has been astonishing . Shahid Afridi after the captian's controvesy had not stood up with the bat. A match winning 75 against SL at Sharjah, A match winning 50 against SL at Hambontota in T20 an the recent knocks against South Africa and WI after two consecutive comebacks there is nothing to show. Nasir Jamshed came an scored three hundreds against India and people thought he might be the man but his technique was exploited in South Africa. In this scenerio Misbah took all the responsibilty of Pakistan batting line-up and has had an amazing run last 12 months or so

  • on July 22, 2013, 21:57 GMT

    ugh.It isn't even about the way Misbah bats anymore.I truly hate his batting style but that isn't the point.The World-Cup is in 2015 and do you seriously expect a 41-42 year old Captain to lead your side to it? That is insane. Asad Shafique was put under the gun in India in the semi-final, when he wasn't even ready to play.Playing against the west-indies, its not about winning the series anymore.Series such as these should be a chance for youngsters to come in and show their worth.A middle order of hafeez, and misbah as our 3 and 4 just isn't good enough anymore.Look at South-Africa with its team of youngsters.Look at Australia and India.Here we have, a 40 year old man leading a side an year and a half before the major tournament.Beyond insane.

  • on July 22, 2013, 19:21 GMT

    I will say Misbah is MR.Consistent for Pakistan, he took responsibility with cool mind, though the situation he came out to bat in is always more than worse. No doubt MS is great captain but if we put him in place of Misbah, than MS will be far behind in his performance.More importantly who can field better than Misbah in present eleven of any team by comparing the age, Misbah 39, is being amazing in his field with his acrobat fielding.

  • on July 22, 2013, 19:19 GMT

    Pakistan does not lack cricket talent, it lacks cricket management and administration talent for sure! I see no reason why Umar Akmal, probably the most complete batsman in the team, has to come and bat with tail enders? Why Hafeez has to be in the top 3 when he is not competent to be top 3? Why we still perceive Afridi as a batsman as opposed to as a bowler and a tail-end batsmen? So many questions but same approach by PCB.

  • salman.ali.rai on July 22, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    Good write from Mr. Naqvi. I think Misbah has evolved as a batman in this year. If I remember correctly, before the SA series he mentioned of playing aggressively from then on and the results are for every one to see. He was indeed scoring runs before as well but being a bit more positive in his game has made him a dynamic batsman. He batted very well in the two ODIs we won against SA and then followed it up in yesterday's ODI. Previously it was all about staying on the crease, but now he seems to be much more busy on the crease. His captaincy on the other hand (including team selection and field placements) still needs a lot to be desired and hope it can evolve the same way his batting has.

  • on July 23, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    Pakistan is in the same problem that India faced for a long time. A set of reliable openers is needed. Going down 30 for 3 inside 15 overs means that most of the other batsmen do only a repair job. Pakistan needs to decide how to play 50 overs cricket. First, they have to last 50 overs. Pakistan does not feature the top 5 run accumulators in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy in any team of theirs. Nasir Jamshed is a talented player & can be persisted with but at 2 & 3 Pakistan need a typical technically sound grinder who will look to play the 50 overs. After that the Afridi's & Akmal's can take the attack to the opposition. How to play? That is the question.

  • karachikhatmal on July 23, 2013, 8:05 GMT

    @Anushrut Ramakrishnan Agrwaal A valid critique. I think the title slightly misleads though, since my intention was to talk about the debate and its pointlessness, rather than offer solutions or indeed details on where to look next.

    Lots of really interesting points in here, and I think the questions over Misbah's tactics are valid to an extent too. But we are also in an era of quite reactive captaincy (i think) and Misbah has used his bowlers in particular a lot better than many other captains.

    But I think if (as the PCB seems to have decided) Misbah's going to be captain in WC2015, there needs to be a lot of work done to identify and develop the core of the side. Afridi, as much as I worship him, has no place in this side now let alone two years down the line. And Hafeez, if he stays, needs to be no. 5 or below battling. We need a lot of other youngsters to be blooded in ASAP.

  • RaadQ on July 23, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    I think Umar Akmal should be promoted up the order, so that if there is an initial collapse he and Misbah can steady the ship. This will allow Pak to rescue initial collapses without losing the RR too much. Then Haris Sohail should come in, he is talented enough to compliment either. Finally, I believe Hafeez should come in, by this time the ball would have lost movement and he can score more runs. My batting order: 1. Shehzad 2. Jamshed 3. Umar Akmal 4. Misbah 5. H Sohail 6. Hafeez 7. Afridi. By WC 2015, hopefully Shafiq can take over Misbah's anchor role and Hammad Azam or Umar Amin can replace Afridi as a pacing allrounder, since Hafeez is good enough as an spinning allrounder. Another possible replacement for Misbah as anchor is Azhar Ali.

  • on July 22, 2013, 23:57 GMT

    my comments are rarely posted on this website perhaps its selection policy is on par with pakistan cricket selection in which case my non selection is; I have not heaped praise on the author. Any how, Misbah is a poor captain, poor tactician and very often makes suspicious selection such as that of wahab riaz. The debate remains on him due to his poor showing in the champion league and his inept ability to take control in difficult situations.

  • on July 22, 2013, 22:59 GMT

    It is a pity that 40 yrs old is our best batsman. The problem is that we can't identify young talent and give them enough chances. We tend to give 2 or 3 matches and then we drop them. Asad Shafique is a good example. He looks a complete player. But not getting a proper opportunity. While umar Amin is another talent. We need to give these players 10-15 matches in one go. Invest in young talent. While afridi should only get selected for t20. They need to find batting all rounder for no7 spot. Shoaib malik, umar Amin or Hamad azam can do the job.

  • on July 22, 2013, 21:59 GMT

    Misbah in last few months whenever has come to bat he has hold the innings together. Its amazing to see a Pakistani batsman as consistent as Misbah. He has without any partner in the team has been Pakistan's batting HERO since WC 2011 . Hafeez has one good series and then poor run in 10-12 matches. Younas Khan in Odi's by a distance has not stood to his class, in Tests he has been astonishing . Shahid Afridi after the captian's controvesy had not stood up with the bat. A match winning 75 against SL at Sharjah, A match winning 50 against SL at Hambontota in T20 an the recent knocks against South Africa and WI after two consecutive comebacks there is nothing to show. Nasir Jamshed came an scored three hundreds against India and people thought he might be the man but his technique was exploited in South Africa. In this scenerio Misbah took all the responsibilty of Pakistan batting line-up and has had an amazing run last 12 months or so

  • on July 22, 2013, 21:57 GMT

    ugh.It isn't even about the way Misbah bats anymore.I truly hate his batting style but that isn't the point.The World-Cup is in 2015 and do you seriously expect a 41-42 year old Captain to lead your side to it? That is insane. Asad Shafique was put under the gun in India in the semi-final, when he wasn't even ready to play.Playing against the west-indies, its not about winning the series anymore.Series such as these should be a chance for youngsters to come in and show their worth.A middle order of hafeez, and misbah as our 3 and 4 just isn't good enough anymore.Look at South-Africa with its team of youngsters.Look at Australia and India.Here we have, a 40 year old man leading a side an year and a half before the major tournament.Beyond insane.

  • on July 22, 2013, 19:21 GMT

    I will say Misbah is MR.Consistent for Pakistan, he took responsibility with cool mind, though the situation he came out to bat in is always more than worse. No doubt MS is great captain but if we put him in place of Misbah, than MS will be far behind in his performance.More importantly who can field better than Misbah in present eleven of any team by comparing the age, Misbah 39, is being amazing in his field with his acrobat fielding.

  • on July 22, 2013, 19:19 GMT

    Pakistan does not lack cricket talent, it lacks cricket management and administration talent for sure! I see no reason why Umar Akmal, probably the most complete batsman in the team, has to come and bat with tail enders? Why Hafeez has to be in the top 3 when he is not competent to be top 3? Why we still perceive Afridi as a batsman as opposed to as a bowler and a tail-end batsmen? So many questions but same approach by PCB.

  • on July 22, 2013, 16:50 GMT

    Pak need 2 or 3 good batsmans who can bat around Misbah, if other guys are throwing their wickets. what is the fault of Misbah?

    Abdul Razzaq is 10 times better than Afridi, don't know why PCB is not selecting Razzaq, He is a consistent performer in domestic and at International level he is a match winner unlike Afridi or Hafeez.

  • on July 22, 2013, 15:58 GMT

    the problem is that many people are stuck between misbah & Afridi. if they say misbah is too slow and miserable then batting once in blue moon Afridi cant solve pakistan's batting problems. we need solid consistent batsmen in middle order who could provide stability and score at good rate. When people say misbah poor they compare him with afridi who is also worse.

    I dont buy this argument that because of misbah others are failing. i mean what misbah has to do with poor shots being played by top order?

  • Zahidsaltin on July 22, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    It's all in the last paragraph of Naqvi's blog. When our coaches can't even change afrid's approach to play the same shots even after getting out to it for tens of times, then what else can you discuss. The selectors know that Hafeez will never succeed at no. 3 while playing on a wicket where the ball deviates a bit, but they won't take notice even when heading for a WC in australia. PCB knows that our first class set-up is not competitive enough for the young batsmen, but they won't change it.

  • on July 22, 2013, 14:06 GMT

    When every other cricket playing nation looking to build d team towards 2015 WC, I do not c any such effort from Pak. I still didn't understand what PCB is thinking by playing 40yr in d team. U need to give a 2yr run to some of the youngsters whom the coaching staff can trust. How many yrs will Misbah still play. Is he in the PCB scheme of things for 2015WC. I c some comments comparing him to Dhoni. But this comparision is ridiculous. Dhoni is very smart cricketer. He assess the situation very well. He knows when to attach, when to defend, whom to attach and how to attack. One good ex is the 1st ODI Ind Vs Pak in Dec. Pak bowlers rattled Indian top order for 30 odd runs. Dhoni made 1 of the best 100's in ODI by rotating the strike n took attack to the opposition at right time. I don't c Misbah doing that kind of work. He keep in playing dot balls until the last batsman or until last few overs. It's time for PCB to luk into future.

  • on July 22, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    Misbah is kinda like a bridge. But there's always pillars to support the bridge and as far as ive seen there hasn't been any mention of the person batting along with Misbah. He's the one who rotates the strike and gives Misbah all the chances to save Pakistan from collapsing so overall its not only Misbah who's doing all the work. Its the batsmen who's batting alongside him aswell. And Misbah comes in at number 4 which actually shows that the openers have had great knocks but its just been bad luck all year round for them this time so although I understand that we cant give them another chance everytime they fail. And this year hasn't been all bad for the openers, they've had some good knocks. And for the rest of the team, they are the ones who are supporting Misbah so overall its not exactly "Misbah the Magician" who abruptly fixes everything and the rest of the team just screws up. Blaming it on a few individual and make the man with the most runs the hero. Every one try's their best

  • Morfi on July 22, 2013, 12:58 GMT

    Brilliantly done Sir! I hope the readers understand your point and stop feeling jealous that they could not write about this point better.

  • on July 22, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    He's forced to play like he usually does just because others are not doing much around him, change for Pakistan batting approach is required, the approach to play your natural strokes instead of just blocking & then getting out. One more thing Umar Akmal should play among the top three, he has the potential so that he could maximum exposurel.

  • Rajeshj on July 22, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    Truly a nice article read in cricinfo after a long time.. @Anushrat: you fail to understand that the article is trying to explain the complex nature of the situations presented to Misbah and the equally complex nature of his likers and haters.. not any statistics or numbers.. But, we in India, think that Misbah has been the most fantastic captain of Pakistan team after Imran... he took over the team during its most horrendous period and have shepherded his team in the most dignified manner, possible... To be frank, he is the only reason for the Pakistani team earning respect wherever they play.. Pakistan appears more like the Aussie team, where the batting glory is a thing of past.. still pakistan manage to score more than 200 in any innings of their one-day or test matches.. that shows his value.. its time, Pakistan acknowledge one of their truest sporting hero.. he is as good as MSDhoni.. I would say...

  • bouncer709 on July 22, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    @Abhishek Asthana: So when Misbah was not part of Pak team? Pak team was getting bowled under 100 every time? Do you remember once Indian team consisting of big names, Sehwag, ganguly,Sachin Tendulkar, and the Wall of India Rahul Dravid? but still they were loosing and they did'nt win any big title, I remember whenever Rahul Dravid used to come to bat against Pak I always wished he stay there long, he was doing the same job blocking the balls and at the end give his wicket leaving impossible for others. and that is why Rahul Dravid got only 14 Man of the match awards playing 344 matches. Any other player who have played 300+ matches have got at least 25 MOM. So Staying at the wicket is something else and winning the match is different.

  • voyager on July 22, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    Continuing author's thought;

    We should talk about making the sport available to every citizen young and old and establish robust local leagues for all levels with a purpose of generating local healthy activity not just to find some world champion. Once we do that then interanational sucess or failure will become irrelevant and cyclical

    Questions; Was tennis dead in UK for last 8 decades just becuase they had no wimbeldon champion? Is cricket in Australia not strong anymore just because their national team is losing?

  • xylofon on July 22, 2013, 12:03 GMT

    The article has a very good point and a lot of people are CLEARLY not getting it - the basic problem is not Misbah - its what we´ve been failing to do on the overall situation for years and years now. Crisis in batting is only the symptom, the real issue is what Naqvi writes in the final paragraph. Read it again please.

  • on July 22, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    to me he is the Dhoni of pakistan.,..that answers everything !!!

  • getsetgopk on July 22, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    @Hasan Aziz: You sir have a really short memory when you say Afridi hasn't done enough to merit his place in the team. Did you not watch what happened in the recent CT? The team couldn't stand on its own feet let alone winning anything before Afridi alone bulldozed WI in the opening game and now they are back up again and winning games. Misbah has been the captain since 2011 and feel free to let us all know what his ODI team has achieved other than a win over India which again was provided by three people, Junaid, Irfan and Ajmal. The batsmen as usual failed to even chase 167 in 50 overs. You can't be a passive observer as a captain in ODI's and expect things to happen for you, you have to be a thinking and aggressive captain. ODIs are like a boxing game where the only result is a knockout so you either knock your opponent out or he will. Two years is a very long time to judge a captain. It took misbah 2 yrs to up his run rate, its gona take another 2 for him to change his captaincy.

  • on July 22, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    misbah was gud but what happens to him against india at india and even in champions trophy he seemed 2 be getting afraid of indians y iz dat

  • on July 22, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    If Misbah wasn't there Pakistan would be getting out under 100 in every match. Is it his mistake that top order is failing badly in every match? If he comes out to bat at 20/3 what do you expect him to do? Play like Afridi and score 70 in 30 balls in one match and then lose wicket doing the same in 20 matches after that? And what has Nasir Jamshed's approach to do with Misbah? Saying that others are slowing down due to him is absolute rubbish.

    Misbah is such a level headed guy and he brings stability to otherwise enigmatic team. I hope people understand the value he brings to the team.

  • on July 22, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    This article is quite ridiculous. Not because I disagree with what it says but because it doesn't say much. You have not really concentrated on the point you wanted to make about the crisis and have remained stuck in your analogy.

  • karachikhatmal on July 22, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    Thanks for the comments guys. But I do think its time we can look beyond Misbah now, because its disturbing how poor the rest of the team is. Hafeez however seems to have won himself a lot more time right now.

  • on July 22, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    If he goes out of the team, then I think Pakistan won't be able to score even 100 runs

  • on July 22, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    Misbah is a superb batsman. But sadly he came to international cricket at his retiring age. Hope Pakistan finds such batsman more like india. India is always a batsman country and Pakistan bowlers

  • on July 22, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    No doubt that misbah is the only well-established batman in there line-up,, But people criticize him on the highest No of Dot balls he plays, If he could score singles of even half of them, then everybody will be fine,, as he has great scoring abilities.

  • Maqsood.Rehan on July 22, 2013, 5:40 GMT

    Shahid Afridi is taken as hero nationwide, only because of one heroic innings he plays once a year. They are mad for him, his style etc no matter how poorly he performed most of his career. In contrast, they hate Misbah because of his style, call him Tuk Tuk etc, but this is due to only one reason: They do not understand the game. Misbahmight not be the best in world, but he is the best in this team in these circumstances. This emotionally fool nation overlooks the consistent poor performances of rest of the team, and only criticise Misbah (being an easy target), no matter how many matches he has won for Pakistan. They want Afridi, love Afridi & are mad for him only. Bring Misbah's replacement & then we will see.

  • on July 22, 2013, 5:23 GMT

    Misbah just gave a befitting reply to the naysayers in the just concluded 4th one-dayer.52 off 42 deliveries beautifully crafted runs which led Pakistan to victory

  • on July 22, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    People talk about his batting. He is only scoring for pak from past one year. If u coommpair him with other batsmen around the world his last 1000 runs has put him on 2nd position in the world. No one is supporting him on other end when he stop too many balls people criticize him. A good player and very nice captain. Salute

  • on July 22, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    Because he's the hero Pakistan deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we'll blame him. Because he can take it. Because he's not our hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.

  • Desihungama on July 22, 2013, 4:46 GMT

    In defense of Misbah he could argue he was never provided a platform where he would have to come in and play according to his own strengths rather he is contemplating team rescues and writing scripts on survival guide all the time. By now he can write a book on that. If I am ever stranded I would want none other but Msibah there.

  • on July 22, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    "OverCoat" is more entertaining than this article. Yet very painful. You cannot deny Misbah's contributions towards the Pakistan Cricket. We should judge him by his records, average, winning performances & not by the strike-rate. He is playing his role quite sensibly.

  • on July 22, 2013, 3:08 GMT

    I agree with #sandy· I think this is the worest bating line i have ever seen of pak. . misbah the only bating strength of pak. is just slow & steady. you cant play this kind of game with team like India , eng, south Africa & sl. so u really need to think abt. your bating.

  • on July 22, 2013, 2:08 GMT

    @getsetgopk: Afridi has not performed consistently enough or good enough to merit his own place in the team, so I am not sure on what basis you would want to make him a captain. Expect the next worthwhile innings from him after atleast a couple of years and that is not a captain and leader I would like to follow.

  • on July 21, 2013, 22:51 GMT

    Beautiful written. The fault lies with the openers, it's not his fault they get out earlier and nor his fault being young they are to lazy to run between the wicket. No coach can help them, they need to work hard themselves

  • on July 21, 2013, 22:44 GMT

    He is a brialliant batsman as well as captain no doubt.

  • on July 21, 2013, 22:33 GMT

    Pakistan will do better with a domestic Coach, Since Whatmore joined and constrained them from playing aggressive Cricket, their standard of Batting has declined. They are playing imbecile Cricket. They have a Local Bowling Coach and Bowling performance has gone up.

  • on July 21, 2013, 20:19 GMT

    I totally agree, he is the only one who is still holding the team together. #salute

  • criclover_sandy on July 21, 2013, 15:17 GMT

    pak and india produce same flat test pitchs ,but we produce good batsman with ease as pak produce seamers....reason i guess lies in its legacy ...but this pak team is weakest batting side ever representing its country

  • getsetgopk on July 21, 2013, 13:23 GMT

    As a senior batsman (and dont we need batsmen let alone senior ones?) Misbah in my opinion has a role to play and an important one I might add in this team Pakistan. I like this idea of a lovely overcoat concealing a flawed individual but this writer like many other in the past has missed the point again. How about we call it, neither Misbah is an overcoat concealing a flawed batting lineup but admit that Misbah is still our best batsman and stats would verify that. The problem in my view is with the leadership. My solution is to keep Misbah in the team but remove him from captaincy. The same team if handed over to Afridi would most definitely provide much better results.

  • on July 21, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    A really nice article pointing out the true problem with Pakistan's Cricket.

  • on July 21, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    A really nice article pointing out the true problem with Pakistan's Cricket.

  • getsetgopk on July 21, 2013, 13:23 GMT

    As a senior batsman (and dont we need batsmen let alone senior ones?) Misbah in my opinion has a role to play and an important one I might add in this team Pakistan. I like this idea of a lovely overcoat concealing a flawed individual but this writer like many other in the past has missed the point again. How about we call it, neither Misbah is an overcoat concealing a flawed batting lineup but admit that Misbah is still our best batsman and stats would verify that. The problem in my view is with the leadership. My solution is to keep Misbah in the team but remove him from captaincy. The same team if handed over to Afridi would most definitely provide much better results.

  • criclover_sandy on July 21, 2013, 15:17 GMT

    pak and india produce same flat test pitchs ,but we produce good batsman with ease as pak produce seamers....reason i guess lies in its legacy ...but this pak team is weakest batting side ever representing its country

  • on July 21, 2013, 20:19 GMT

    I totally agree, he is the only one who is still holding the team together. #salute

  • on July 21, 2013, 22:33 GMT

    Pakistan will do better with a domestic Coach, Since Whatmore joined and constrained them from playing aggressive Cricket, their standard of Batting has declined. They are playing imbecile Cricket. They have a Local Bowling Coach and Bowling performance has gone up.

  • on July 21, 2013, 22:44 GMT

    He is a brialliant batsman as well as captain no doubt.

  • on July 21, 2013, 22:51 GMT

    Beautiful written. The fault lies with the openers, it's not his fault they get out earlier and nor his fault being young they are to lazy to run between the wicket. No coach can help them, they need to work hard themselves

  • on July 22, 2013, 2:08 GMT

    @getsetgopk: Afridi has not performed consistently enough or good enough to merit his own place in the team, so I am not sure on what basis you would want to make him a captain. Expect the next worthwhile innings from him after atleast a couple of years and that is not a captain and leader I would like to follow.

  • on July 22, 2013, 3:08 GMT

    I agree with #sandy· I think this is the worest bating line i have ever seen of pak. . misbah the only bating strength of pak. is just slow & steady. you cant play this kind of game with team like India , eng, south Africa & sl. so u really need to think abt. your bating.

  • on July 22, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    "OverCoat" is more entertaining than this article. Yet very painful. You cannot deny Misbah's contributions towards the Pakistan Cricket. We should judge him by his records, average, winning performances & not by the strike-rate. He is playing his role quite sensibly.