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April 1, 2013
After leading Faisalabad Wolves to victory in the Faysal Bank Super Eight T20, captain Misbah-ul-Haq criticised those who had questioned his approach to captaincy and batting as being defensive. Misbah scored an unbeaten 38 off 25 balls against Sialkot Stallions in the final in Lahore on Sunday night and ended the tournament as the leading run-scorer with 206 runs at a strike-rate of 140.13 and an average of 103. He also 12 sixes in the competition, the most by any player.
"My approach to play according to the team's requirement was misunderstood as my weakness but I will continue to play like this, whether or not I achieve success," said Misbah about his new aggressive approach to captaincy and batting.
Before the ODI series in South Africa, Misbah averaged 36.60 at a strike-rate of 66.25 in his last 20 games but in his last five games, he has 227 runs at a strike-rate of 80.21.
Misbah stepped down as Pakistan T20 captain last May, handing over to Mohammad Hafeez, and was subsequently dropped from the T20 squad, though he remains captain of the Test and ODI sides. He took over the leadership in 2010 at the age of 36, shortly after the spot-fixing controversy had damaged the reputation of the team. He was instrumental in bringing back stability to the team and restoring lost pride, but over time was criticised by the Pakistan media for his defensive approach and fans too have been vocal about his slow batting in international matches.
However, Misbah insists that he would rather win matches than worry about his strike-rate. "Everyone should think twice before making a comment," Misbah told a reporter after the final. "Players have always gone through lean patches but that doesn't mean they should be written off. I have been playing merely according to the requirements of the team.
"Whatever has been said and done (against me) is useless. Criticism is always healthy but never doubt one's potential rather than looking for negative angles to mow down a player. I think my role has been misunderstood and I always try to play for the team, for the game and for my reputation. Cricket is my passion and I am enjoying it more than ever, otherwise playing cricket without passion is pointless."
Despite his recent success with the Wolves, he ruled out making a return to international T20s, though he will continue to play domestically. "This is how I will be playing but I have no plans to return," Misbah said.
He said the T20 title for Faisalabad was an "important" breakthrough for the regional team. "The way the players have been performing over the years, they deserved the title. We played in a number of finals but didn't make it. But this time, I knew something special is coming and everything we did here turned to gold.
"We first beat Karachi (Dolphins) and later on thumped the top side (Lahore Lions) in the semi-final, that boosted the team's confidence and if you are brimming with confidence, nothing is impossible. Every player played his part, gave his best and ended with a brilliant and important victory in such a pressure game."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Umar Farooq
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