December 31, 2013

Is Misbah one of Pakistan's best captains?

If you go by the numbers of wins and individual performances while in charge, he hasn't done too badly
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As captain, Misbah-ul-Haq averages 57.92 in victorious Tests and 92 in drawn Tests
As captain, Misbah-ul-Haq averages 57.92 in victorious Tests and 92 in drawn Tests © AFP

When it comes to Pakistani cricket, longevity is automatically a hallmark of greatness when judging captains, since it implies that the leader in question managed to tame the wild forces that rip Pakistani cricket apart long enough to establish some sort of coherent reign.

Two thousand and thirteen marked three years into the captaincy of Misbah-ul-Haq, and thus represents a remarkable achievement in the context of Pakistani cricket. The question now is: where exactly does Misbah rank on the all-time list of Pakistani captains?

Just as it is when we judge any player's importance in cricket, there appear to be two broad ways of looking at a captain's achievements - their personal performances and the track record of their team. Pakistani captains tend to perform much better once they secure the top post, which is, of course, the best way of warding off challenges to their reign. It is a facet visible in most Pakistani captains, and, for me, is best exemplified by Shoaib Malik's figures. A player with a bit of a Machiavellian reputation, his ODI average jumped 11 runs during his stint as captain.

To begin our exercise we must first stop to marvel at the majesty of Imran Khan's golden age. Although Imran will forever be remembered as the captain who won the World Cup, arguably his greater triumph lay in having led Pakistan in three Test series against the greatest side of all time and not losing a single one.

While those drawn series against West Indies require context to be appreciated, Imran's statistics as captain are possibly the most unequivocal proof of his prowess. As captain, his batting average in Tests jumped from 37 to 52, while his bowling average dropped from almost 23 to 20. Nearly half his career five-fors and five of his six centuries were recorded as captain. During his spell, he was one of the highest-averaging batsmen and lowest-averaging bowlers in the team.

It is unlikely therefore that any captain in Pakistan (or even world cricket, for that matter) will ever be able to rival Imran, which means that the highest Misbah can aspire to be is second-best. There are three other captains who can challenge that position: Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram and Inzamam-ul-Haq.

To be honest, I was surprised to see Miandad had led Pakistan in as many matches as he did, given that he played in Imran's era and got the captaincy in bits and pieces. However, Miandad led Pakistan to as many Test wins as Imran (14), had a superior win-loss ratio (2.33 to Imran's 1.75), and won more Test series than any other Pakistani captain (eight series wins to Imran's five). Miandad's marquee wins included a home series against Australia and beating England both home and away. However his batting average dropped almost three runs as captain, and he only had one away hundred as captain compared to three by Imran, who also took six five-fors away from home as captain. While he was undoubtedly a remarkable captain, Miandad seemed to be unable to play as inspirationally as Imran (or even others) could.

Akram comes next in the list of pretenders. He led Pakistan to 12 Test wins and six series wins. His teams won 48% of their matches but also lost 32% of them, and out of his ten series he only drew one. His marquee wins included away wins in England and New Zealand as well as the Asian Test Championship.

It is also relevant to look at the ODI records of Akram and his successors, because the format's priority and prestige had increased during their time. Akram's teams had a 61.5% winning record in limited-overs, which is almost identical to Waqar's and behind Shoaib Malik (66.6%) for Pakistani captains with at least 20 matches under their belt. Akram led Pakistan to a World Cup final, a World Series win Down Under, as well as a host of Sharjah trophies.

Individually, the captaincy didn't seem to affect Akram's figures much, with his batting and bowling averages both showing improvements of around one run when captain across both formats. Of course, what the stats don't reveal is the shadow of match-fixing that plagued Wasim's legacy, which is perhaps the reason his record feels less significant.

That leaves the two Haqs to contend with - Inzamam and Misbah. In terms of bilateral ODI series, Misbah leads Inzamam. He has 12 wins and five losses to Inzamam's ten-six, although both these figures are bolstered by some frivolous wins. Both also won away series in India and the West Indies, though the fortuitous Asia Cup win and presiding over the first series win by an Asian team in South Africa gives Misbah the edge. In Tests, Inzamam led Pakistan to five series wins (and can lay claim to a sixth, over South Africa, although he missed most of the tour including the match Pakistan won). Misbah has five. Both have had famous wins over England at home (Misbah's was in UAE), with Inzamam adding a series win over India at home as well.

Individually, Inzamam's Test average went from 49.6 to 52 as captain, while in ODIs it went from 39.5 to 43.8. The numbers also seem to suggest that Inzamam's teams lived and died with him - in matches Pakistan won, his Test average went up to 94, while his ODI average shot up 19 runs to 58. Conversely, when losing, his Test average plummeted to 19.8, while in ODIs it went from 39.5 to 33.

Misbah's Test average as captain improved from 46 to 57, while his ODI average also went up four runs to become 49. What's interesting is that while Misbah averages 57.92 when Pakistan win a Test, his average shoots up to 92 when Pakistan draw one. It's a salient feature, since it allows us to see the difference in the fortunes and styles of the two sides.

Inzamam's side was considerably more blessed than Misbah's. Under Inzamam, both Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan averaged over 60 in Tests. In contrast, Misbah has been the best batsman in his side, with an average of 57, followed by Younis at 54 and Azhar Ali at 43. Mohammad Hafeez's average of 34.8 as a top-order batsman under Misbah is lower than Shahid Afridi's 42.5 under Inzamam.

In terms of bowling, Inzamam had far more talented players (Mohammad Asif, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul etc) but Misbah's players have the better record, with Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman having shared most of the wickets. What these figures make clear is that Misbah's team has managed to match the record of Inzamam's side despite having far less talented personnel.

Of course, even with all these stats there are still a thousand arguments left for each of the candidates, and many ways to look at this question. However, there is no doubt left that Misbah has joined the ranks of Pakistan's best captains and has a chance to establish himself as the all-time second-best.

The author would like to acknowledge the help of Emad Zafar Iqbal in researching for this piece.

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

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on January 2, 2014, 4:57 GMT

    I think Misbah never quite gets the credit he deserves. It would be worth remembering that he took over a side that was in shambles after the spot fixing affair and the Ijaz Butt era. Unlike most predecessors, he has had neither had a strong pace attack, nor a regular opening pair. Given all that, his work so far has been nothing short of extraordinary.

  • on January 2, 2014, 21:44 GMT

    misbah to b fair to him should not b compared Now.We should do this when he retires. most of the Pakistani captains have performed well .yes there were mediocre ones and these need nt b mentioned.Misbah s greatest achievement I'd say his rebuilding the team after the Butts destroyed the poor leftovers. whatever Misbah s shortcomings he set a personal example. Inzi did his utmost to keep Misbah out of the national side.this is the blot on Inzi s.Inzi s other crime is engineering the revolt against Yunus.So please Inzi b kept out !!yes Misbah may well end up there with the greatest!! only time will tell....personally I have never forgiven him for his "tuk tuk" in the WC sf against Indians.

  • t20cric on January 2, 2014, 19:43 GMT

    No doubt Misbah is a good captain but his defensive tactics are what gets him. Along with that he often makes some questionable decisions like picking Hafeez at no.3 instead of Azhar Ali. In ODIs he kept picking Tanvir or Riaz ahead of Junaid who could have probably surpassed Ajmal in wickets taken for 2013. But he is a good captain considering that he beat tough teams without having anyone even close to Inzi, Yousuf and in-form Younis. Infact Imran, Miandad, Inzimam and Akram all had really strong bowling attacks and fairly strong batting (Zaheer Abbas, Saleem Malik, Javed Miandad, Saeed Anwar, Aamir Sohail, Inzimam-ul-haq, Mohammad Yousuf & Younis Khan all played under one of these captains). Misbah, on the other hand has a really strong spin attack, an experienced but young & promising pace attack & only a few good batsmen. I'd say the batting that Misbah has is the worst in Pak history (partially cuz of Misbah himself). If Misbah could be a more attacking captain he would be better

  • Pakistan_Foreva on January 2, 2014, 4:17 GMT

    Misbah currently has 11 test wins as captains and as the article says, and 5 test series wins (Miandad currently has the joint record of 14 test wins and 8 series wins). Currently Pak are playing Sri Lanka in a 3 test series, and are hosting Australia for a 3 test series in UAE later this year, then hosting New Zealand for 3 tests, then Zimbabwe for 2 tests, then playing 2 tests in Bangladesh all before the 2015 WC (until which time it seems Misbah has been appointed firmly as captain). He has a great chance of leading pak to win against Sri Lanka, NZ, Zimb, Bang (and just maybe Aus) and can end up as Pak's best test captain ever for sure! I hope he can definitley end his career as such.

  • on January 1, 2014, 19:37 GMT

    Misbah is resilient, Inzi was class.

  • Shah-Ji on January 1, 2014, 19:08 GMT

    Most interesting...Like many other bloggers ,Ahmer forgot to mention Mushtaq Muhammad ,arguably the best Captain . Who laid the foundation of the Team ,Imran ,Sarfraz ,Miandad,Majid Zaheer ,Bari,Asif iqbal ,Iqbal Qasim , All of them not only blossomed in to world class ,Cricket bacame popular and They became a household names , Era of Pak Fast Bowlers started,Reverse came in to swing.

    He was the All time best Captain followed by A H Kardar, Kardar team got us test status. and after getting the status,won matches against every team at their soil..

  • maksumbal on January 1, 2014, 18:44 GMT

    A very nicely written article. Good research and well presented.

  • on January 1, 2014, 16:03 GMT

    The one factor that makes Misbah greater then the aforementioned players is that he has never played in the Pakistani team with security of his position. Even if Miandad, Inzimam or Akram went through a lean patch no body would dream about taking about axing them from the team. The pressure that this guy absorbs whenever he bats over the past 3 years must be immense. He knows that considering his age and critics if he has any dip in form and he will be permanantly dropped form the team. The only way to keep people shut is to be the best batsman in the team. Considering this, his performance, consistency and fitness is simply remarkable !

  • on January 1, 2014, 14:17 GMT

    Pakistan are always an exciting team to watch - really liking the current team.

  • D.Pramod on January 1, 2014, 11:56 GMT

    In addition to personal performance and team track record, I feel that a third parameter, integrity needs to be added to the judgement mix. Miandad, Wasim Akram, Inzamam and Waqar were all tainted by match-fixing (though they may have escaped bans). Misbah scores over all of them on integrity alone. Certainly No.2 after Imran although I believe Mushtaq Mohammad may run him close, very close.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on January 2, 2014, 4:57 GMT

    I think Misbah never quite gets the credit he deserves. It would be worth remembering that he took over a side that was in shambles after the spot fixing affair and the Ijaz Butt era. Unlike most predecessors, he has had neither had a strong pace attack, nor a regular opening pair. Given all that, his work so far has been nothing short of extraordinary.

  • on January 2, 2014, 21:44 GMT

    misbah to b fair to him should not b compared Now.We should do this when he retires. most of the Pakistani captains have performed well .yes there were mediocre ones and these need nt b mentioned.Misbah s greatest achievement I'd say his rebuilding the team after the Butts destroyed the poor leftovers. whatever Misbah s shortcomings he set a personal example. Inzi did his utmost to keep Misbah out of the national side.this is the blot on Inzi s.Inzi s other crime is engineering the revolt against Yunus.So please Inzi b kept out !!yes Misbah may well end up there with the greatest!! only time will tell....personally I have never forgiven him for his "tuk tuk" in the WC sf against Indians.

  • t20cric on January 2, 2014, 19:43 GMT

    No doubt Misbah is a good captain but his defensive tactics are what gets him. Along with that he often makes some questionable decisions like picking Hafeez at no.3 instead of Azhar Ali. In ODIs he kept picking Tanvir or Riaz ahead of Junaid who could have probably surpassed Ajmal in wickets taken for 2013. But he is a good captain considering that he beat tough teams without having anyone even close to Inzi, Yousuf and in-form Younis. Infact Imran, Miandad, Inzimam and Akram all had really strong bowling attacks and fairly strong batting (Zaheer Abbas, Saleem Malik, Javed Miandad, Saeed Anwar, Aamir Sohail, Inzimam-ul-haq, Mohammad Yousuf & Younis Khan all played under one of these captains). Misbah, on the other hand has a really strong spin attack, an experienced but young & promising pace attack & only a few good batsmen. I'd say the batting that Misbah has is the worst in Pak history (partially cuz of Misbah himself). If Misbah could be a more attacking captain he would be better

  • Pakistan_Foreva on January 2, 2014, 4:17 GMT

    Misbah currently has 11 test wins as captains and as the article says, and 5 test series wins (Miandad currently has the joint record of 14 test wins and 8 series wins). Currently Pak are playing Sri Lanka in a 3 test series, and are hosting Australia for a 3 test series in UAE later this year, then hosting New Zealand for 3 tests, then Zimbabwe for 2 tests, then playing 2 tests in Bangladesh all before the 2015 WC (until which time it seems Misbah has been appointed firmly as captain). He has a great chance of leading pak to win against Sri Lanka, NZ, Zimb, Bang (and just maybe Aus) and can end up as Pak's best test captain ever for sure! I hope he can definitley end his career as such.

  • on January 1, 2014, 19:37 GMT

    Misbah is resilient, Inzi was class.

  • Shah-Ji on January 1, 2014, 19:08 GMT

    Most interesting...Like many other bloggers ,Ahmer forgot to mention Mushtaq Muhammad ,arguably the best Captain . Who laid the foundation of the Team ,Imran ,Sarfraz ,Miandad,Majid Zaheer ,Bari,Asif iqbal ,Iqbal Qasim , All of them not only blossomed in to world class ,Cricket bacame popular and They became a household names , Era of Pak Fast Bowlers started,Reverse came in to swing.

    He was the All time best Captain followed by A H Kardar, Kardar team got us test status. and after getting the status,won matches against every team at their soil..

  • maksumbal on January 1, 2014, 18:44 GMT

    A very nicely written article. Good research and well presented.

  • on January 1, 2014, 16:03 GMT

    The one factor that makes Misbah greater then the aforementioned players is that he has never played in the Pakistani team with security of his position. Even if Miandad, Inzimam or Akram went through a lean patch no body would dream about taking about axing them from the team. The pressure that this guy absorbs whenever he bats over the past 3 years must be immense. He knows that considering his age and critics if he has any dip in form and he will be permanantly dropped form the team. The only way to keep people shut is to be the best batsman in the team. Considering this, his performance, consistency and fitness is simply remarkable !

  • on January 1, 2014, 14:17 GMT

    Pakistan are always an exciting team to watch - really liking the current team.

  • D.Pramod on January 1, 2014, 11:56 GMT

    In addition to personal performance and team track record, I feel that a third parameter, integrity needs to be added to the judgement mix. Miandad, Wasim Akram, Inzamam and Waqar were all tainted by match-fixing (though they may have escaped bans). Misbah scores over all of them on integrity alone. Certainly No.2 after Imran although I believe Mushtaq Mohammad may run him close, very close.

  • karachikhatmal on January 1, 2014, 9:24 GMT

    With regards to those saying that Inzi's record with a poor bowling attack was superior, that isn't entirely true. The drawn series with India had a very weak attack, but Inzi was blessed with the most productive Pakistani middle order in recent history. Seeing how it is our batting that traditionally lets us down, that is a huge boost in my opinion.

    Secondly, Inzi's bowling attack was not as consistent as Misbah's, with only Kaneria being selected regularly. However, for Misbah the second most important bowler is Rehman, while Junaid has taken only 44 wickets under him. Over the course of their captaincy, Misbah's attack has been a lot less star studded and varied.

    With regards to the ODI records, Misbah's team again feels weaker. It has a weaker W/L record than most other modern sides. Inzi's bowlers are again more talented but Rana Naved was the most regular feature of that attack, which means Inzi was unluckier that way. Again, Junaid and Irfan have been around for long.

  • karachikhatmal on January 1, 2014, 9:14 GMT

    Thank you all for the comments.

    Twitter user @Ahmad_Saleem pointed out that Mushtaq Mohammad deserved to be discussed here too. This was because I had tweeted implying that Misbah was arguably the 2nd best captain Pakistan ever had, when in truth this article was written to judge the best captain SINCE Imran, since that is the cricket I've seen.

    For the record, Mushtaq led Pakistan in 19 Tests, with 8 wins and 4 draws. Half of those wins came away from home, and his highlight was drawing two series in Australia, and a narrow loss to the Windies away. His batting average suffered a drop of six runs as captain, while his bowling average remained unchanged. Not having seen any of this, I am loath to compare him beyond the numbers, but he's definitely up there in terms of the significance of his team's achievements. I am assuming Aus was quite strong for at least one of those series.

  • on January 1, 2014, 0:14 GMT

    Inzi was a faaaaar superior batsman ( the best from Pakistan) and even a far better captain than Misbsh. He won series with bowlers like rana naveed , sami and gul who was just another average bowler in those days as he was starting international cricket. The best spinner that Pakistan had was the worst in the worls kaneria yet he gave results. Inzi made yousuf and yonis world class batsmen as their performances started getting really good in his era. Misbah has the luxury of ajmal junsid gul irfan rehmsn etc. So it's kind of unfair to compare both of them because inzi used his amazing ability with the bat to win matches single handedly which is the major difference between them

  • on December 31, 2013, 20:14 GMT

    I would rate Inzi as a better captain than Misbah because I feel he was excellent in getting the best out of average players. We won a series in India with a bowling attack consisting of Sami, Rana, Rao, Razzaq and Arshad Khan which is no mean feat. In the batting department, Afridi and Akmal used to be an integral part of our winning test XIs on consistent basis ( yes Afridi as a test player). While Misbah had to encounter issues with the batting department, the bowling resources under him have been ever green ( a luxury Inzi didn't enjoy).

  • on December 31, 2013, 20:01 GMT

    Well at the end of the day there is no clear barometer to judge if Misbah is indeed the second best captain we have ever had or not. While he has done exceptionally well in creating a stable test outfit over the last 3 years, the ODI side has been far from consistent under him. The notable victories (away wins in SA and WI) are recent happenings which happened after a period of almost 3 years under Misbah. Also the number of wins (matches and series) is bolstered by the fact that those series results include wins over Ireland(twice), Zimbabwe, Scotland, Bangladesh. Our previous captains didn't have the luxury to improve their record by playing against the lesser team that often. Misbah IMHO is a good captain but still has a long way to go before we can count him as one of our best.

  • on December 31, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    Misbah is good player and under circumstances doing well as captain but where he batts he should finish the games but he is unable to do so. if we recall wc 1992 IK(imran khan) had the same.problem with PAK batsmen but IK was brave enough to promote himself at No.3 position too hold the innings with loosing too many wickets upfront by doing so he provided the launch pad for later assualt for remaining inexperienced batsmen. Inzi did nt score much before semi in wc92 but Khan used all of them mindfully by taking the heat himself where as Misbah lost the plot all together by putting youngster/out of form batsmen ahead of him in batting order at the time when misbah himself is in the best form plus he is tempermentaly sound enough to do the job at top order. hence proved he can not be great but no doubts he did fairly well in his time where PCB & PAK team needs someone to not let the ship sink. Still ship is not sailing smoothely against quality teams in testing conditions & times.

  • blogossip on December 31, 2013, 19:35 GMT

    @Ali _ chaudry drawing with west indies team of that period where they had Richards, Haynes, Ambrose,Marshall etc was like scaling everest as no other team even drew in 80s in west indies. Immi aslo beat india in India and england in england And thr were no ratings at that time so i agree with author Immi was greatest PK captain of all time. i dont see misbah beating england in england or india in india

  • on December 31, 2013, 19:07 GMT

    I m from india but try to be neutral when judging any team.I think Misbah is Gary Kirstern of this era.Both have been highly underestimated despite their stats.He is highly criticised for slow strike rate but more often he comes to bat before 10 overs and 2 or 3 down.I certainly feel he his one of those who is very sweet timer of cricket ball, one I remember is micheal Hussey .It is not about hard hitting, actually it is sensible hitting.Only game I saw him play pooerly was against us in wc semis where he was defending needlessly.We have remembered only his failed scoop shot in wc t20 final against us but had forgotten how he single handly took the match there (Surely cameo of tanveer was also special).He should be seriously respected for what he gave to cricket despite Unstable nature of Pakistan Cricket.Changing captaincy swiftly and adjusting is also a big plus.Pepole with understand him when he will retire , pcb will be without genuine bowler

  • on December 31, 2013, 18:10 GMT

    Ali_Chaudhary: You are comparing boring misbah to greatest captain and leader the cricket world has ever seen. I think you might be a 10 years old kid who don't know what captaincy is and what leadership is. There was no team in 70s and 80s who were able to beat great WI team a single series and most of those teams were able to get draws against WI the max. Imran khan on other hand never lost to greatest team of all time. Misbah's team which one the series against so called number 1 english team was due to spin loving pitches and every body know that it's very hard for eng team batsmen to play spin. The record of Misbah is that good that he was not able to win a series against Zimbabwe and WI and you are comparing him to great Imran Khan. You just need to stop following the cricket because you have no common sense about cricket at all.

  • jw76 on December 31, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    Yes, Misbah is doing an outstanding job. He took over the team at a time of great turmoil even by Pakistani standards, and united it under his leadership. The team he inherited is also the least talented Pakistan have had for many years, particularly in batting, but at the age of 39 now he has led from the front with the bat, despite criticism that he is too slow (he knows how much depends on him) and is no mean fielder either. Besides this, it is not often mentioned that, while Pakistan in the past has often been an abrasive team and unpopular opponents under certain captains (including Imran), today under Misbah they play the game in good spirit and without controversy. Pakistan should continue to hold on to Misbah as long as they can - Pakistan cricket and the game in general is better for his captaincy. Misbah Zindabad!

  • billbowden311 on December 31, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    Misbah was a great captain from day one, he has consistently performed but there was just one tiny flaw in his captaincy-he was too defensive. Recently he has adapted a more conventional attacking strategy, which should emphasise his place amongst all time greats.

  • on December 31, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    Ali_Chaudhry : Check the recent tour of Pak to WI. Did pak won the test series? Even when WI are 8th ranked team. Its easy to say that WI wasn't on Peak. But ask them who played against them. And as for as IK record as a batting captain. How many times Misbah remained Not Out? Check even 2013 games :) Use Statsguru for that. You will find it easy. Did Pak won in SL during Misbah Captaincy? No. Did Misbah won series against even ZIM ?? NO ! Think twice when you compare any of Pakistani Captain with IK. What would say about IK wickets? They were tailenders??

  • Zahidsaltin on December 31, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    Misbah is no doubt a good captain but what I admire most is his talent as batsman. He is surely one of the Pakistan greats. People will talk about centuries but I will go for consistancy. A batsman who scores a big hundred and then a series of small scores to average 50 is not better than the one who scores a 50+ score on consistant basis to attain the same average. Misbah's job has always been a diffult one as he, on most occasions came to bat when Pakistan are 40 for 4.

  • on December 31, 2013, 13:53 GMT

    @ TheFoo Man : Please don't exaggerate by saying that he is the GREATEST CAPTAIN Pakistan ever had. :) Yes he is a good captain but not that much good. Sometime he is too defensive. SO far he did great job to carry on with the team without any 'DRAMA.' He is cool and calm. I hope his good form continues in the 2014. Wish him and Pakistani team all the best

  • Ali_Chaudhary on December 31, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    btw. IK never defeated a no.1 Team and misbah White washed them in UAE. IK had the luxury of Wasim, Waqar, Qadir as Bowlers nad Javed, Inzi etc as batters. On the other Hand poor Misbah has only Ajmal. No other pkaistani batter or bowler is world class at the Moment. I personally feel if Misbah had te luxury of Wiki, Wasim etc he would have been even better than Lyod.

  • Ali_Chaudhary on December 31, 2013, 9:27 GMT

    very well written but I have some issues which Ich think reader must know. Imran´s batting as captain is very overrated. He made only 2408 runs. That is not a bench mark to define the greatness. Despite playing 48 test he only managed 2408 runs which is not great. His average is also very overrated. If you exclude the not Outs his average Dips down to 37.63. Now compare this to MS who in test isnt a very gud Player. MS has managed 2920 runs at an averages of 36.97 (excluding not Outs). The series you are talking bout against WI shouldnt get that much credit as that WI side was getting old. They were on thier Peak in mid 70s to mid 80s. After Lyod was gone. Under Richards they carried on winning. but they were different Team altogether. Marshall, Richards all were on brink of retirement. i.e Dravid lifted his game vs Australia in 2003 where McGrath, Warne etc weren´t playing. They still were a good side but never the same as they were with Warne and McGrath.

  • on December 31, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    seriously? Misbah has helped Pakistan recover from the ashes of ignominy and defeat... with the sort of talent that wouldn't have made the A-side back in the 90s. Which other Pakistan captain can boast of a whitewash against the no. 1 ranked side in the world, while his own team's ranking was SIX! SIX! Misbah is definitely the greatest test captain Pakistan ever had... and one of the top two overall. This should be the consensus by now, not a question.

    Great captains like Waugh, Ranatunga, Imran, Vaughan, Gangulay etc. transform the winning potential of their respective teams. There are only two captains in Pakistan's history who did that... Imran and Misbah. This is a story that stats don't tell.

  • on December 31, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    seriously? Misbah has helped Pakistan recover from the ashes of ignominy and defeat... with the sort of talent that wouldn't have made the A-side back in the 90s. Which other Pakistan captain can boast of a whitewash against the no. 1 ranked side in the world, while his own team's ranking was SIX! SIX! Misbah is definitely the greatest test captain Pakistan ever had... and one of the top two overall. This should be the consensus by now, not a question.

    Great captains like Waugh, Ranatunga, Imran, Vaughan, Gangulay etc. transform the winning potential of their respective teams. There are only two captains in Pakistan's history who did that... Imran and Misbah. This is a story that stats don't tell.

  • Ali_Chaudhary on December 31, 2013, 9:27 GMT

    very well written but I have some issues which Ich think reader must know. Imran´s batting as captain is very overrated. He made only 2408 runs. That is not a bench mark to define the greatness. Despite playing 48 test he only managed 2408 runs which is not great. His average is also very overrated. If you exclude the not Outs his average Dips down to 37.63. Now compare this to MS who in test isnt a very gud Player. MS has managed 2920 runs at an averages of 36.97 (excluding not Outs). The series you are talking bout against WI shouldnt get that much credit as that WI side was getting old. They were on thier Peak in mid 70s to mid 80s. After Lyod was gone. Under Richards they carried on winning. but they were different Team altogether. Marshall, Richards all were on brink of retirement. i.e Dravid lifted his game vs Australia in 2003 where McGrath, Warne etc weren´t playing. They still were a good side but never the same as they were with Warne and McGrath.

  • Ali_Chaudhary on December 31, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    btw. IK never defeated a no.1 Team and misbah White washed them in UAE. IK had the luxury of Wasim, Waqar, Qadir as Bowlers nad Javed, Inzi etc as batters. On the other Hand poor Misbah has only Ajmal. No other pkaistani batter or bowler is world class at the Moment. I personally feel if Misbah had te luxury of Wiki, Wasim etc he would have been even better than Lyod.

  • on December 31, 2013, 13:53 GMT

    @ TheFoo Man : Please don't exaggerate by saying that he is the GREATEST CAPTAIN Pakistan ever had. :) Yes he is a good captain but not that much good. Sometime he is too defensive. SO far he did great job to carry on with the team without any 'DRAMA.' He is cool and calm. I hope his good form continues in the 2014. Wish him and Pakistani team all the best

  • Zahidsaltin on December 31, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    Misbah is no doubt a good captain but what I admire most is his talent as batsman. He is surely one of the Pakistan greats. People will talk about centuries but I will go for consistancy. A batsman who scores a big hundred and then a series of small scores to average 50 is not better than the one who scores a 50+ score on consistant basis to attain the same average. Misbah's job has always been a diffult one as he, on most occasions came to bat when Pakistan are 40 for 4.

  • on December 31, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    Ali_Chaudhry : Check the recent tour of Pak to WI. Did pak won the test series? Even when WI are 8th ranked team. Its easy to say that WI wasn't on Peak. But ask them who played against them. And as for as IK record as a batting captain. How many times Misbah remained Not Out? Check even 2013 games :) Use Statsguru for that. You will find it easy. Did Pak won in SL during Misbah Captaincy? No. Did Misbah won series against even ZIM ?? NO ! Think twice when you compare any of Pakistani Captain with IK. What would say about IK wickets? They were tailenders??

  • billbowden311 on December 31, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    Misbah was a great captain from day one, he has consistently performed but there was just one tiny flaw in his captaincy-he was too defensive. Recently he has adapted a more conventional attacking strategy, which should emphasise his place amongst all time greats.

  • jw76 on December 31, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    Yes, Misbah is doing an outstanding job. He took over the team at a time of great turmoil even by Pakistani standards, and united it under his leadership. The team he inherited is also the least talented Pakistan have had for many years, particularly in batting, but at the age of 39 now he has led from the front with the bat, despite criticism that he is too slow (he knows how much depends on him) and is no mean fielder either. Besides this, it is not often mentioned that, while Pakistan in the past has often been an abrasive team and unpopular opponents under certain captains (including Imran), today under Misbah they play the game in good spirit and without controversy. Pakistan should continue to hold on to Misbah as long as they can - Pakistan cricket and the game in general is better for his captaincy. Misbah Zindabad!

  • on December 31, 2013, 18:10 GMT

    Ali_Chaudhary: You are comparing boring misbah to greatest captain and leader the cricket world has ever seen. I think you might be a 10 years old kid who don't know what captaincy is and what leadership is. There was no team in 70s and 80s who were able to beat great WI team a single series and most of those teams were able to get draws against WI the max. Imran khan on other hand never lost to greatest team of all time. Misbah's team which one the series against so called number 1 english team was due to spin loving pitches and every body know that it's very hard for eng team batsmen to play spin. The record of Misbah is that good that he was not able to win a series against Zimbabwe and WI and you are comparing him to great Imran Khan. You just need to stop following the cricket because you have no common sense about cricket at all.

  • on December 31, 2013, 19:07 GMT

    I m from india but try to be neutral when judging any team.I think Misbah is Gary Kirstern of this era.Both have been highly underestimated despite their stats.He is highly criticised for slow strike rate but more often he comes to bat before 10 overs and 2 or 3 down.I certainly feel he his one of those who is very sweet timer of cricket ball, one I remember is micheal Hussey .It is not about hard hitting, actually it is sensible hitting.Only game I saw him play pooerly was against us in wc semis where he was defending needlessly.We have remembered only his failed scoop shot in wc t20 final against us but had forgotten how he single handly took the match there (Surely cameo of tanveer was also special).He should be seriously respected for what he gave to cricket despite Unstable nature of Pakistan Cricket.Changing captaincy swiftly and adjusting is also a big plus.Pepole with understand him when he will retire , pcb will be without genuine bowler