Pakistan in New Zealand 2010-11 January 19, 2011

The latest chapter in Misbah's extraordinary career

There is no shortage of remarkable stories in Pakistan cricket but Misbah's is something else altogether
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The pressing need of the moment is a book on Misbah-ul-Haq. If cards are played sharply, perhaps a film can be considered too. At the very least he must get on Twitter or Facebook immediately. There is no shortage of remarkable stories in Pakistan cricket but Misbah's is something else altogether. It must be told, even at the risk of further squeezing a world overcrowded by my vegetable-seller and your greengrocer telling us everything about their life in regular, 140-character updates.

In one tweet, sample Misbah's career; "pkd 01 drpd 02,mba,bk 07@33, dmn@jogi shma pddle wrld cp,hero ind, wrld chmp 09,drpd 09, brn kit, bk capt 10@36, led 1st test win 4yrs booya". All that remains is for him to take over as ODI captain - and given that he only played two ODIs last year after which he was dropped, that is all but assured - and win Pakistan the 2011 World Cup. Or take them to the final and tread on his stumps as he hooks the last ball for the four required to win it.

As with his first return in 2007, his second comeback in 2010, as captain no less, was mostly ridiculed. Geoff Lawson, who worked closely with him, was happy that he had the best cricket brain in Pakistan. Lawson's assessment is open to question, but that Misbah is the first brain in four years to construct a Test series win for Pakistan is not; he is also the first Pakistani to win a Test series outside the subcontinent in seven years. Inzamam-ul-Haq being the last leader in both instances, perhaps the PCB should only appoint ul-Haqs as captain.

A series win in a lower-mid table battle may not seem instantly important, but Pakistan will celebrate it with as much energy as New Zealand will expend in introspection. These have been a troubling few months for both sides.

Not least of Misbah's achievements as captain - and this includes the series with South Africa - is that it went off without anybody being killed. No one ran away and no bookies have yet been sighted. Daniel Vettori even completed his press conference duties without insinuating anything untoward about Umar Gul's fine fourth-evening spell in Wellington. It is a minor triumph.

There were genuine gains in the field for Pakistan. Primarily, the batting appears to be something you could place a paperclip on and not expect it to collapse immediately. Sure the bowling they faced in New Zealand wasn't up to much and the surfaces in the UAE weren't either, but runs have to be made and time played. After the horrors of a damp, overcast English summer and three sub-100 scores in four Tests, men such as Azhar Ali in particular deserved a break.

The bowling is the greater worry now. This attack is hard-working, not explosive and on flatter surfaces, with more resolute batsmen, hard days will present themselves. How typical it is of Pakistan that just when their batting appears to sort itself out, they are without as good a new-ball pair in world cricket as there can be. Those are the cards that have been dealt. There are perhaps a couple of names domestically worth investing in, Junaid Khan one of them. But mostly the hope is that time will do what it does best here and suddenly produce an outstanding, naturally gifted fast bowler in the next two years.

And that is the thing really. Last year, with a much stronger side, Pakistan were indebted to rain for not losing the Test series against New Zealand and this year, with ten different faces, they've won a Test and come close to winning the second. New players keep getting discovered, older players are rediscovered, domestic veterans flower briefly but usefully, those we think can captain don't, those we think can't do; Pakistan cricket keeps on moving. Incidentally, one way to look at their recent performances is that they've lost only one of their last four Test series - all outside Pakistan - against England, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. It isn't a bad haul.

The last words, though, for Misbah. Lawson noted correctly when Misbah was appointed that his own performances would be absolutely crucial in determining the fate and length of his tenure. In Pakistan this matters much more. Such has been the output that it can be said that Sir Don Bradman's average as captain was Misbah-esque: the Don averages merely 101.75 to Misbah's 112.75.

Perhaps not: the point remains that, so far, leadership has enhanced Misbah's batting, in particular his responsibility in constructing an innings and that is a handy trick. Certainly he hasn't looked out of depth, or naïve, on the field, to some extent proving Lawson's assessment that he handles problems analytically not emotionally. Years of domestic leadership have no doubt helped.

"PS Misbah would make a great chairman of the PCB in another 15 years!!!" Lawson once signed off. Best reserve a copy of that book now.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • truth1 on January 21, 2011, 16:47 GMT

    Thank you John! at least there is one neutral cricket lover who recognises Pak contributions to cricket and may well give rap on hands of those who out of sheer enmity want to ban Pakistan. For a quick recap: who invented the concept of running between wickets? rewind plz: javed and Asif Iqbal playing against India. Who invented Doosra and reverse swing? rewind: Saqlain and Sarfraz.Who knew about reverse sweep as a weapon until Mushatq played it.Who brought neutral umpires into game: Imran khan.Which cricket team can defy all odds: yes Pak. which team can regenerate so quickly despite serious issues.Did cornered tigers win ODI WC and T20 WC? Which team scares everone?Match fixing is not just confined to this team.Cronje and Azhar were not from pakistan and they did all that in another land.U can ban as many players as u like but soon a poor kid playing somewhere right now with a piece of broken wood& discarded ball will give u shock of your life.Give thm leader they will conquer u all.

  • JohnOConnor on January 21, 2011, 7:39 GMT

    As a huge Seffrican cricket fan can I speak for lovers of this great game the world over: What has happened to Pakistan cricket is enough to make you weep! Pakistani cricketers have added so much to the game - both talent and character. If only their administration and leadership was as good as their talent. With 800million cricket nuts - who knows what incredible players are lurking in Pakistan.

  • shahab2058 on January 20, 2011, 20:44 GMT

    No doubt, Misbah has the best "Cricketing Brain" in whole Pakistan team but I don't like him as a player especially when it comes to ODIs.

  • on January 20, 2011, 19:09 GMT

    Mr. Singh your comments are valid but not for this article. You're taking a joke very seriously. Just remember, Usman Samiuddin wrote this, not Harsha Bhogle. Unlike Mr. Bhogle, Mr. Samiuddin intends to be funny when he's joking.

  • Osama_Siddiqui on January 20, 2011, 18:35 GMT

    Can't tell if Osman Samiuddin is being sarcastic or not. My friend put it best when he said, "this article was written by Imran Yusuf for Page 2, and was then intercepted by Osman Samiuddin and posted on the main page".

  • CricketChat on January 20, 2011, 18:13 GMT

    Misbah should still be trying to come to grips with being given a 2nd life in Cricket (any form, considering his fate till just recently) and being Test Captain, no less. PCB should let him become a stable member of the team first, before burdening him with Captaincy in other formats. Afridi has not done anything worthwhile of late in ODIs and T20s, so Younis would be a better bet for WC, providing he agrees to do it. Otherwise, I suggest Kamran to be made Captain.

  • PlaySafeus on January 20, 2011, 14:00 GMT

    Hi S.N.Singh,

    You have taken comparison of Misbah with Bradman too seriously. The writer had no intent to do that, he just threw a statistic on lighter side. Rather than commenting on something substantial you have written a long para on Bradman and Gavasker. I am sure if you suggest Gavasker can do a come back.

  • on January 20, 2011, 13:11 GMT

    Ul Haqs as captain??? My name ends in Akram let me lead the attack lol jk Anyways, we shoulds jump to conclusions yet, Mishbah has only lead in 2 series, that too he has done VERY well with an under strength side. ODIs, i think Afridi should remain, unless he is bad during the NZ ODIs....

  • on January 20, 2011, 13:02 GMT

    I have no problems with Pakistan playing for the draw, despite the fact it would have given my Kiwi boys a better chance of forcing a win - Misbah did what he had to do to win the series, he's proving Lawson right - he has got a good cricket brain, something Pakistan has lacked sometimes! Good luck to him and to a resurgent Pakistan, but please let NZ win the ODI series!!!

  • dr_salman on January 20, 2011, 10:07 GMT

    @harris: agreed..even if asad hadnt got out (thanks to another umpiring error)..we had a chance...they cud ve fired in the last 5 or 6 overs...and remember 3 bonus overs were also bowled because there was still time left in the day...there s no way then that misbah wud ve relied on adnan akmal n rest to follow...cz we saw wat happened in the 1st innings...as soon as younis got out...everyone else followed !! so that was the right thing to do to save the series

    still i think his on field tactics were not that aggressive...we saw wahab troubling guptill with his short pitched ones...3 times in one over...but no forward short leg was taken !! hafiz shd ve bin brought on to bowl in 2nd session instead of 3rd..n nz innings cud ve been wrapped up earlier...so i think he shd analyse his mistakes n learn from them after the celebrations are over !

  • truth1 on January 21, 2011, 16:47 GMT

    Thank you John! at least there is one neutral cricket lover who recognises Pak contributions to cricket and may well give rap on hands of those who out of sheer enmity want to ban Pakistan. For a quick recap: who invented the concept of running between wickets? rewind plz: javed and Asif Iqbal playing against India. Who invented Doosra and reverse swing? rewind: Saqlain and Sarfraz.Who knew about reverse sweep as a weapon until Mushatq played it.Who brought neutral umpires into game: Imran khan.Which cricket team can defy all odds: yes Pak. which team can regenerate so quickly despite serious issues.Did cornered tigers win ODI WC and T20 WC? Which team scares everone?Match fixing is not just confined to this team.Cronje and Azhar were not from pakistan and they did all that in another land.U can ban as many players as u like but soon a poor kid playing somewhere right now with a piece of broken wood& discarded ball will give u shock of your life.Give thm leader they will conquer u all.

  • JohnOConnor on January 21, 2011, 7:39 GMT

    As a huge Seffrican cricket fan can I speak for lovers of this great game the world over: What has happened to Pakistan cricket is enough to make you weep! Pakistani cricketers have added so much to the game - both talent and character. If only their administration and leadership was as good as their talent. With 800million cricket nuts - who knows what incredible players are lurking in Pakistan.

  • shahab2058 on January 20, 2011, 20:44 GMT

    No doubt, Misbah has the best "Cricketing Brain" in whole Pakistan team but I don't like him as a player especially when it comes to ODIs.

  • on January 20, 2011, 19:09 GMT

    Mr. Singh your comments are valid but not for this article. You're taking a joke very seriously. Just remember, Usman Samiuddin wrote this, not Harsha Bhogle. Unlike Mr. Bhogle, Mr. Samiuddin intends to be funny when he's joking.

  • Osama_Siddiqui on January 20, 2011, 18:35 GMT

    Can't tell if Osman Samiuddin is being sarcastic or not. My friend put it best when he said, "this article was written by Imran Yusuf for Page 2, and was then intercepted by Osman Samiuddin and posted on the main page".

  • CricketChat on January 20, 2011, 18:13 GMT

    Misbah should still be trying to come to grips with being given a 2nd life in Cricket (any form, considering his fate till just recently) and being Test Captain, no less. PCB should let him become a stable member of the team first, before burdening him with Captaincy in other formats. Afridi has not done anything worthwhile of late in ODIs and T20s, so Younis would be a better bet for WC, providing he agrees to do it. Otherwise, I suggest Kamran to be made Captain.

  • PlaySafeus on January 20, 2011, 14:00 GMT

    Hi S.N.Singh,

    You have taken comparison of Misbah with Bradman too seriously. The writer had no intent to do that, he just threw a statistic on lighter side. Rather than commenting on something substantial you have written a long para on Bradman and Gavasker. I am sure if you suggest Gavasker can do a come back.

  • on January 20, 2011, 13:11 GMT

    Ul Haqs as captain??? My name ends in Akram let me lead the attack lol jk Anyways, we shoulds jump to conclusions yet, Mishbah has only lead in 2 series, that too he has done VERY well with an under strength side. ODIs, i think Afridi should remain, unless he is bad during the NZ ODIs....

  • on January 20, 2011, 13:02 GMT

    I have no problems with Pakistan playing for the draw, despite the fact it would have given my Kiwi boys a better chance of forcing a win - Misbah did what he had to do to win the series, he's proving Lawson right - he has got a good cricket brain, something Pakistan has lacked sometimes! Good luck to him and to a resurgent Pakistan, but please let NZ win the ODI series!!!

  • dr_salman on January 20, 2011, 10:07 GMT

    @harris: agreed..even if asad hadnt got out (thanks to another umpiring error)..we had a chance...they cud ve fired in the last 5 or 6 overs...and remember 3 bonus overs were also bowled because there was still time left in the day...there s no way then that misbah wud ve relied on adnan akmal n rest to follow...cz we saw wat happened in the 1st innings...as soon as younis got out...everyone else followed !! so that was the right thing to do to save the series

    still i think his on field tactics were not that aggressive...we saw wahab troubling guptill with his short pitched ones...3 times in one over...but no forward short leg was taken !! hafiz shd ve bin brought on to bowl in 2nd session instead of 3rd..n nz innings cud ve been wrapped up earlier...so i think he shd analyse his mistakes n learn from them after the celebrations are over !

  • imrankhan76uk on January 20, 2011, 10:02 GMT

    Guyzz.. I think he performed best to his abilities... I will happily take draw like that with series wins... no one has seen future but at his (Misbah) age all the greats (Lara,Inzi,SRT and many more) were greats in their 20s and 30s so dont expect any miracles from him now.... At the moment, best thing is Afridi to Captain ODi's and Misbah to Captain Tests... I do believe that current ODi team without Misbah will do better in WC

  • Devd007 on January 20, 2011, 9:43 GMT

    In Test cricket things can change very quickly. Players like Misbah make batting look easy, and people tend to think why not score faster and go for a win...well if Misbah had got out, and Pakistan had lost the test, then the same guys (or some other group of guys) would have been baying for his blood. I think Pakistan did the right thing by playing for a draw and ensuring a series victory. This will help them move up the rankings table, and gain in confidence.

  • on January 20, 2011, 9:35 GMT

    india is not tht great a team tht pakistan cant beat, read my lips, india is going to be out of the wc from the knockout stage.

  • cricinme on January 20, 2011, 7:33 GMT

    Is Afridi happy with this series win under Misbah. I am sure NO.

  • SyedArif on January 20, 2011, 6:30 GMT

    It is just like "if end is well all is well". But one must not forget there are still a lots of thing to do for the betterment of cricket in Pakistan. To announce world cup squad without the team leader is very childish attitude of PCB. If PCB wants to change the captain for the world cup they must have decided and appointed earlier so the new captain may have time to adjust. But to announce a new captain just before the world cup does't make any sense.

  • on January 20, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    @NP_NY: If so you must have zero confidence in your batsmen. @Waleed-Khalid: The second session was perfectly fine under the circumstances. Rebuilding was required. But kindly don't try to justify his behaviour in the last session. If not the whole of it than atleast the last hour. @nabeel89: He merely compared their captaincy average. I wish those who are defending Misbah remember that he has many attacking shots in his repertoire, he had an able assistant in Asad and attackers like Gul and Wahab after Asad got out, AND he was perfectly capable of winning this for Pakistan. I have more faith in his ability than most of you and that is why I am furious.

  • on January 20, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    PCB should only appoint ul-Haqs as captain lolz

  • on January 20, 2011, 5:57 GMT

    Misbah as a batsman is an excellent asset. He will drive all bowling attacks to desperation. He is even fine as a fielding captain. He just shouldn't captain while batting, giving him the right to browbeat a talented youngster like Asad Shafiq into not attacking :@ Also, he can't be allowed anywhere near ODIs. Id still prefer him over Fawad Alam for the simple reason that atleast he CAN hit a six to save his life, but its no use since he doesn't want to. Draws would have to be introduced in ODIs :o By the way the best way to cure Misbah-itis is to reintroduce timeless tests. Than he would just have to chase to save his skin. Currently (and strangely for me) I am praying that afridi has a fantabulistic, supercaliflagilistic ODI series. His bowling should rip the kiwis apart, his batting should include atleast 30 runs in every game and his captaincy should be well on par, and needless to say Pakistan should win, so Afridi is retained as ODI captain.

  • LeoSaqib on January 20, 2011, 5:42 GMT

    One major change in attitude of Pakistanis is that they are ready to dig when required.At least on five occassions in last year,they would have won easily, only if they could drop their anchors like they have been doing during last few tests. New Zealand may not be as strong but surviving S.Africa with likes of Kallis and Amla at their best, alongwith best bowling attack,it was really commendable effort. Osman rightly pointed towards lack of fearsome attack and a few more names like Tabish Khan, Muhammad Naweed,Muhammad Talha,Sohail Khan,Aizaz Cheema and Muhammad Rameez can also be mentioned as Good Fast Bowlers but there is hardly any time for any experiment now.Pakistan would have among favorite, only if they have their spearheads.

  • docht on January 20, 2011, 5:36 GMT

    Good article. Truly an outstanding performance by Misbah. He has saved Pak 3 of the last 4 test matches batting in the 4th innings on the final day. This speaks volumes about his character; it shows what a great fighter he is. Not since javed miandad has a pakistani batsman shown such guts and determination like Misbah has shown in the last 4 matches. He showed the same fighting qualities in the test series against india in 2007 where he saved Pak 2 of the 3 tests; otherwise that series would have been a 3-0 whitewash. People who are criticising his 'defensive' tend to forget that this is a batting line-up which on occasions cant even survive 50 overs in an odi! so to save a test on a final day after being 42 for 3 is an achievement of massive propotions. He is a true team leader. He knows how to fight in a crisis situation. He should be made the captain for the WC with immediate effect. Afridi doesnt have half the leadership qualities Misbah possesses.

  • on January 20, 2011, 5:34 GMT

    very well-written article, even by your usual high standards :)

  • on January 20, 2011, 4:59 GMT

    How about ODI captain next week,Chairman PCB in 10 years, PM in 20 years and Amier ul Momaneen in 30 years :)

  • Desihungama on January 20, 2011, 4:44 GMT

    I think the curse of Imran Farhat has been lifted.

  • asim229 on January 20, 2011, 3:06 GMT

    Misbah should not be included in the worlcup squad because he is a very slow starter in ODI's and can't rotate strike. If WC was being played outside subcontinent he could have played at No3 but in subcontinent we need a fast scorer, but his and younis khan experience can be utilized in test matches where staying at the wicket is more important.

  • S.N.Singh on January 20, 2011, 2:01 GMT

    COMPARING MISBAH AT THIS EARLY STAGE OF BEING CAPTAIN IS LIKE COMPARING APPLES WITH ORANGES. DON BRADMAN HAS NO COMPARISON AS CRICKETER IS CONCERN ON TO KNOW. IT LIKE FINDING SOMETHING TO WRITE ABOUT. WE MUST FACE FACTS. MISHAB AS IT IS MISHAB BATTING AVERAGE IS A MEER 42.00 CAREER. WHY TRY TO MAKE SOMETHING ABOUT. HOW MANNY CRICKETERS DO NOT HAVE A AVERAGE OF 42.00. MISHAB IS A VERY CONSISTANT BATSMAN AND TO START AT THIS AGE SHOWS CRICKET IS BEING PLAYED AT LATE STAGES IN LIFE. GAVASKAR SHOULD NOT HAVE RETIRED THAT EARLY. S.N.SINGH U S A

  • on January 20, 2011, 1:57 GMT

    best comment-->perhaps the PCB should only appoint ul-Haqs as captain LOL

  • on January 20, 2011, 0:59 GMT

    For every Pak fan moaning that pak should have gone for the win there is a saying " You should learn to walk before you can run". A test series win was needed to boast the confidence whether it be 1-0 or 2-0 wudnt have made a difference. Pak lost 5 wickets for 52 runs in the first innings when new zealand didnt put much pressure on them. Whos to say itcudnt hve happened again specially on day 5. A series drawn 1-1 would have thwarted the confidence of team when they were in a good position to win it albeit 1-0. Pak would have gone for the win if younis hadnt got out. Pak would have won the test easy if younis hadnt been wrongly given out in first innings because he was all set for a 100 and may be more. One shouldnt forget that india only beat NZ 1-0 in their last test series in india and india also had to save a test match against NZ for that. If everything is taken into perspective, It is a good series win. Moreover, i hope afridi remains captain for the WC.

  • on January 20, 2011, 0:45 GMT

    Pak yet to prove in test cricket. They have to play and win against India, SA, England and Australia. Agreed. They won one match each against England and Australia but that's not enough.

  • pk_cric_rox on January 20, 2011, 0:41 GMT

    i dont know y ppl r talking about aggression or attack. wat aggression did pak need to score 3 runs an over? they just had to play normal careful cricket to win the match.yeah pak was 42/3 at one stage but they recovered, didnt they? isnt test cricket all about recovering and getting back at opposition? u cant see one scenario in a match , u change ur strategy every now n then depending on situation n lets b honest misbah couldnt do that.coach himself admitted their plan was to attack through hafeez, i mean u rely on only 1 batsman to attack n if he goes down u go for a draw? at one stage pak were 160/3, needing only 114 to win at almost 3.2 an over, and even ur number 10 and 11 r not bad like chris martin, umar gul can even hit it quite nicely.then wat r u so scared of? they didnt need any agression, or risk taking , they just had to play normal cricket bcoz getting 100 odd runs with 6 wickets in hand when opposition bowlers r tired n getting nothing out of pitch needs no miracle

  • faisal_khan_1 on January 20, 2011, 0:21 GMT

    this sort of " pressure" batting hasnt been in Pakistan seen Miandad and maybe a few innings of Inzamam.

    great job Misbah!

  • Darvesh on January 19, 2011, 23:55 GMT

    as usual Osman sahab is getting carried away just on the basis of one test series and that too of only 2 matches. Misbah as captain is not a fascinating idea by any stretch of imagination. Like many others noted, he is way too defensive on par with Yosuf.

  • Nerk on January 19, 2011, 23:09 GMT

    It will be good to see Pakistan play a series at home once again. Pakistan are a different team at home. But here in New Zealand they showed that they can play with confidence outside from home. It is too early to say it is a turning point in Pakistan cricket, that has been said too many times before, but its a start.

  • syedahmed91 on January 19, 2011, 22:06 GMT

    Good win but, I don't think this is going to work out for a long period. Most Pakistani players flourish when given captaincy ( Malik lead a 12 win streak in odi, Younis scored 300 vs SL, Afridi scored 124 and 109 back to back in sri lanka, Salman butt was good against Eng) Those are just some of the facts, I think misbah is gonna lose confident if he plays Odi because in Odi you can't waste time and right now it seems he needs to spend alot of time on the field to feel comfortable and play his shots. It was a good series against NZ but I'm not expecting this to last for very long, I'm pretty sure PCB will do something new that will throw off this team once again. And I really hope, I pray, they don't choose misbah as a captain for the w cup over afridi. That will certainly send pakistan back another 10 years...

  • Zahidsaltin on January 19, 2011, 22:05 GMT

    Yes a good run of decent scores but most of your words are mere exaguration. His defencive mindset and approach is reason for not winning what was a sure win. He didn't believe that Gul, Adnan, Tanvir and Wahab (all of them have scored 50s in domestic) could play 10+ overs if he fell in the course. He is a misfit in limited overs game as he has not been able to rotate strike. Taking 100 ball to score 38 in a ODI and then may be lucky enough to hit a 6 & 4 in the last over, is a very familier story about Misbah. Sure he is in form but otherwise he is much more defensive than Mohammad Yousef was as captain. We need agressive cricket with caution, and not so dead as it was last night, and you know caution doesn't mean playing 7 straight maiden overs when you have 85 odd runs and 15 overs to play with 5 wickets in hand.

  • MNM64 on January 19, 2011, 21:48 GMT

    Misbah showed great temperament as a test batsman but I feel he has been very conscious and slow and not as aggressive like some of the other captains. It was possible to win this test easily if he had played a bit of attacking innings. He was too defensive....

  • cram2jam on January 19, 2011, 21:20 GMT

    Misbah's negative mindset as shown in this test will not work in the crucial worldcup. Pak should have easily won the final test had it not been for the numerous wasted balls by Misbah. Afridi is anyday a better ODI captain

  • cheesemethod on January 19, 2011, 21:13 GMT

    Well done to Pakistan for the win but that was some incredibly negative cricket. I know its day 5 but 270 runs in 90 overs. Sure, save a test if you got dominated in the first innings, struggle for survival etc but going at 1 or 2 an over is terrible. If Pakistan went at 3 an over they would have won. We saw a similar thing in the recent RSA v India test. India deciding the draw was a better approach.

    Another instance was the Ashes test at the Gabba. This assignment was a lot tougher but if they played that last day like an aggressive ODI innings Aus may have gone 1-0. As an NZ supporter the only respect I have for ponting is the way he sets up tests to win or lose, unusual for him to bat out a draw.

  • on January 19, 2011, 21:13 GMT

    Odi and T20 has polluted our perception, this is test cricket. 274 in 90 overs is 3 Runs/over-thats close to the series avg,and this was the 5th day! If Azhar or taufeeq had stayed on longer we had a shot.I made a rough estimation in my head when Misbah and Younis were 100-3.if they could push us past 200-3, they should definately go for it. Adnan has scored some runs, but mainly streaky. Asad was on a pair, so not that dependable. So misbah did the right thing, you cannot depend on the last 5 with 130 runs to win on a 5th day,and vettori to deal with.As Osman rightly pointed out, he analyses things logically rather than emotionally(as our Pakistani fans).Series win 1-0, ill take it thank you very much! Afridi is attacking but his brief captaincy tenure has seen alot of mistakes(esp. field placements and bowling changes)-Even repeating the same mistakes because of his stubborness.He is okay but lets not overexaggerate!

  • on January 19, 2011, 20:58 GMT

    "perhaps the PCB should only appoint ul-Haqs as captain"

    Arguably Zia-ul-Haq was the last competent leader of the country. Where do ul-Haq hail from.

  • dr_salman on January 19, 2011, 20:57 GMT

    since inzamam we din really have a test captain who wud lead from the front...younis was somewhat near...but misbah looks better...he n younis ve given real strength to middle order..well...but i do think that in this series pakistan din really have batting depth...our keeper cudnt bat well...no tailender who cud bat...(unlike nz who had an offspinner who cud bat in vettori...their keeper played well...n the all rounder james franklin !) this may look better if kamran akmal returns...probably is a weak aspect as well...

    misbah must b on cloud no 9...but he shd get off that sooner n analyse the on field captaincy mistakes he made...he wasnt as aggressive as he shd ve been...(hafeez was brought on to bowl quite late on 4th day, no close in fielder taken for guptill who was lookin uncomfortable against wahabs short pitched deliveries)..a lil more aggression n nz wud ve bin some 50 60 runs short n pak wud ve won !!...so he shd learn from these mistakes !!

  • on January 19, 2011, 20:52 GMT

    Team should have the same captain for ODI & TEST .T20 can have a different skipper....I think Misbah can make a better captain for the world cup....but the best choice is yunus khan who has 2-3 yrs left of cricket .Misbah may retire after the world cup and yunus khan can take over for a medium term period ...

  • on January 19, 2011, 20:26 GMT

    this pakistani team can win the world cup, they got the talent and calibre. they need the confidence and misbah is the man to bring it into his mates... good luck pakistan

  • on January 19, 2011, 20:18 GMT

    remove afridi and we'll see another in team conflict.

  • on January 19, 2011, 20:07 GMT

    Thank you Misbah, You are the last nail on the dead coffin of test cricket. It was already a dead horse, made by the cricketer like Misbah but this last episode was so painful that Vitorie resigned of the test cricket. I am sure if he stayed in test cricket he will make many cricketers resign

  • on January 19, 2011, 19:57 GMT

    What has the leadership to do with being born in a certain place, Imran was raised in Lahore. Just that Misbah also hails from Mianwali, does this mean he will win WC for us, what a logic :)

  • swinging-drives on January 19, 2011, 19:48 GMT

    Nice article.. I thought the 'ul haq' bit was hilarius. lol..Since misbah is busy guiding Pakistan team very well, we don't wanna distract his attention. Can we have an 'ul haq' as chairman? (Come on Ijaz butt, don't even think about changing your name at this age) :p

  • on January 19, 2011, 19:27 GMT

    Is that a trend these days to compare everyone with Don?

    Grow up kids!

  • nabeel89 on January 19, 2011, 19:20 GMT

    nice article Osman. But I think it would only be fair to say that you went a little too far comparing him with Sir Don Bradman. I mean come on! Fair enough he has played a few good knocks and has handled the captaincy fairly well but there is no comparison between him and Sir D. Bradman. Good show by Pakistan though. Finally team looks settled in and everyone chipping in. More like a test team and not some park league team that can be skittled over in a session!

  • ac_Indian on January 19, 2011, 19:14 GMT

    well played.. congratulations to the pakistani team..

  • Blueangle on January 19, 2011, 18:53 GMT

    For God's sake dont make him one day captain, he even doesnt deserve to be in one day side. I am sure if BD was chasing 273 in 90 overs they would have played more positive cricket than Pakistan. How can Misbah be so negative in his approach? Pakistan was not losing series by any means because they already have won the first test but here they had the chance to double that lead and improve their test ranking. Pitch was perfect for batting and they had wickets in hand, only thing they needed there was intent and positive approach. The hallmark of Pakistan cricket is their aggressive approach towards the game even when the chips are down but last night's performance was no less then a shame.

  • on January 19, 2011, 18:33 GMT

    An 'away test series' victory in current times speaks volumes of his temperament, and his resolute attitude.

    But 'choking at the last moment' (as happened twice against India in the inaugural t20 WC, as well as couple of other times I cant recall exactly...at least once in a domestic match recently), a defensive approach exhibited against South Africa & NZ recently, also shows how ill-suited he is, to the quicker forms of Cricket.

    His strategy can only be successful in Test Cricket, and that too in maintaining a respectable image in test cricket (in other words dwindling between 3-4 rank in the test ranking). This approach is only valid in these times (when Pakistan Cricket is in turmoils).

    If we are to win the World Cup, or make a solid impact in Test Cricket...we'll have to look beyond Misbah...or Misbah will need to look beyond 'not losing'.

    Credit should be given where it's due...ONLY!

  • on January 19, 2011, 18:31 GMT

    Well done Pakistan and Misbah, at one moment when they were 42/3, I felt they would lose like they've a lot of times in the past, but thanks to the senior batsmen who took responsibility and got the team out of trouble. As everyone said I wanted them to win too which wasnt difficult in the circumstances but we also need to realize that this team is still pretty much new and inexperience and they need to cement their place and find self confidence by playing more and more cricket together to beat better teams but still a good show of temperament, need to consolidate on it now.

  • Chirs-Cry on January 19, 2011, 18:21 GMT

    One more thing to add - an amazing start to 2011 for Pak We remain unbeaten in tests series in Nz since 1990... Series win after a long time.....and most importantly at the RIGHT time Hope for the best in the world cup.

    Good luck Cornered tigers :)

  • Chirs-Cry on January 19, 2011, 18:14 GMT

    *cough* people who are saying that we should have gone for the win are ignoring the FACT Pak were 42-3 and required another 232 of 60-70 overs.

    What were ur thoughts at that point ?? uh ? i can tell most if not all were praying for draw..... while other wanted it to "rain" (on Nz parade)......Anyway a win is a win after all, whats with all the greed !! Misbah is real good captain and i truly acknowledge the way he batted (throughout the series) and his decision to draw the match !!

  • cricPassion2009 on January 19, 2011, 17:54 GMT

    Not surprised with Misbah's meteoric rise. He was phenomenal in T-20 ( was he Pak captain then ? ) where he took Pak to finals and very narrowly missed one championship title.

    Remains to be seen if he has the Midas touch of Imran or the consistency of Inzy.

    One must also congratulate the coach Waqar Younis, former bowling great, for Pak's return to good performance outside the subcontinent.

  • NP_NY on January 19, 2011, 17:45 GMT

    Well done Misbah! I disagree with those of who are complaining that he should have been more aggressive on the final day. It was more important for Pakistan to NOT LOSE the game than to win the game because the series was at stake. I am a India fan and if India was playing, I would have wanted them to bat cautiously as well. Not entertaining but certainly very focused.

  • imrankhan76uk on January 19, 2011, 17:33 GMT

    Afridi should remain Captain for ODi's as he has got another 5 years of cricket in him. He may be able to build (usually we dont build anything) a better team in coming years. Misbah is towards the end of his career anyway so why risk everything on him...one dip in his batting form and everyone will be asking for his head... My opinion is let him do what he looks good at...i.e. Just Test Captain for the time being...

  • gujratwalla on January 19, 2011, 17:29 GMT

    Misbah has surprised well!One doesn't expect such intent and purpose from one so brashly discarded.It might be jumping to conclussions but it is heartwarming for Pakistanis that we have a man alongside Younis Khan who cares for our country.I just hope Taufeeq,Azhar and Shafiq continue to do well.Been a long time since we savoured some success.We are proud of you Misbah-ul-Haq!And our wonderful bowlers.

  • on January 19, 2011, 17:24 GMT

    you are writing very accurate about MISBAH NIAZI .. He have God gifted cricket brain which recognize English people like Geoff Lawson. Please give him chance as a captain as like ponting like Stephen Fleming. I believe he will produce good even time lifted great results for Pakistan cricket...

    Adnan Khan Niazi

  • hoodbu on January 19, 2011, 17:22 GMT

    Fantastic piece. I used to loathe Osman Samiuddin's writings. Now i love them. I wonder who has changed more over the years - me or him?

    Misbah is doing a fine job. We drew against South Africa because Smith was overly defensive. And if you think about the Wellington Test, I'm sure we would have pressed for victory if it hadn't been for those 3 early losses in the first 15 overs. Ultimately Pakistan batted at the same run-rate it had throughout the series. So they really just played their natural game.

    It's fine. Don't expect anything more from a team that has gone through so much turnover in recent times.

  • FaheemAhmed on January 19, 2011, 17:13 GMT

    I didn't like the way Misbah went last day against kiwis, Pakistan should win that match but due to misbah's too much defencive approch pakistan didn't win that match, misbah showed that negetive approach against Proates too in last test of last series.

  • daniraza on January 19, 2011, 16:46 GMT

    Very Well written Indeed....

  • pipsonian on January 19, 2011, 16:44 GMT

    Misbah has been great. He should have been a little more aggressive in second half of the match, just like he was in the first test. Hopefully he will learn but his batting has been great. Osman, i love your sarcasm in the following lines: "Daniel Vettori even completed his press conference duties without insinuating anything untoward about Umar Gul's fine fourth-evening spell in Wellington. It is a minor triumph. "

  • on January 19, 2011, 16:39 GMT

    Quite an article - rather quite a futuristic article. One thing which has been lacking from the top brass of paki cricket since Imran Khan has been some sort of above par academic qualification which DOES make a lot of difference - especially when u r the face of a nation as the cricket team skipper. I back Misbah as Pak captain in all formats of the game!

  • nomikshah on January 19, 2011, 16:32 GMT

    I would suggest that comparisons be made when these are due; he has hardly played anything worthwhile to be compared to his contemporaries let alone be eulogized liked the Don.

  • on January 19, 2011, 16:31 GMT

    Misbah... A true image of Pakistani Cricket... Highly unpredictable...

    I think it will not be a wise decision to make him one-day captain based upon test performance, in place of on-field-fighting Afridi, but, it all depends upon the dizzy mind of PCB chairman... Lets see how long confusion will prevail... But it will definitely effect the performance of players in one-day series against NZ.

  • KarachiKid on January 19, 2011, 16:30 GMT

    Everyone inlcuding myself impressed with Misbah's leadership and performance as a batsman. However, at this time, I would not want Afridi to be replaced for the upcoming world cup as it might mean further turmoil.

  • talharulez on January 19, 2011, 16:29 GMT

    It was great to see the player support that he has been getting throughout his captaincy career so far. Still a lot to be learned. Misbah does get into a habit of going defensive early too often. Atleast nothing like what Yousuf did but still room for improvement. Great series and a good result for team Pakistan. I just loved it how at the end of the day's play when Misbah and Adnan were making their way back to the dressing room, you could clearly hear in the mic Misbah saying to Waqar "mubarak ho mubarak ho". That shows that these guys really do care about what they are playing for and what the pride related to playing for your country means. Good luck team Pakistan in the coming ODIs against NZ and the upcoming world cup. NZ is a good ODI outfit and it should turn out to be an exciting series. Looking forward to Saturday!

  • usman_nile1994 on January 19, 2011, 16:15 GMT

    Misbah is better than Salman Butt and M.Yousuf but still Afridi is better than him in odis and Younis is better in tests.

  • hamzaniazi on January 19, 2011, 15:56 GMT

    Misbah came from city named 'Mianwali' and this city already produced great leader in Pakistan cricket named Imran Khan. lets give chance to him as captain in world cup .believe me result gonna b positive.

  • Farhan88 on January 19, 2011, 15:45 GMT

    I didnt like his approach we could have won this match and also the one against South Africa which we settled for a draw....

  • VipulPatki on January 19, 2011, 15:44 GMT

    Ha ha! The tweet was the best...Great article as always. Misbah seems to exert a calming influence on the team. A great series win for Pakistan.

  • on January 19, 2011, 15:35 GMT

    Wish Aamir and Asif were in the team.. it would have been even a greater team..!! But sadly Mishbah doesn't have time on his side.. that's sad.. always liked that man.. don't know why he was dropped.. politics maybe..

    And really enjoyed wathicn umar-gul bowling the tests.. a fast bowler at his best.. if he were with a good support would have been equal to steyn.. he needed Aamir and Asif..

  • landl47 on January 19, 2011, 15:22 GMT

    Sorry, but if the last day of the second test against New Zealand is anything to go by, it should be a very short book. For Pakistan to score only 226-5 in 92 overs (and Misbah himself to score at less than 2 runs an over) is a disgrace. I was reminded of the bleak days of the late 1960s and early 1970s when batting was dull and dreary, before the short format internationals came along and cricket became fun again. Performances like this will kill test cricket. Misbah and Pakistan should be ashamed.

  • on January 19, 2011, 15:14 GMT

    Salaam, Well Done Misbah But U Played Negatively On Last Day To Get A Draw From Jaws Of Voctiry

  • on January 19, 2011, 14:56 GMT

    Haha brilliant stuff, Osman(though I still insist it's USMAN). I once thought that Misbah's story would make a fine book.. His mistake basically started off the IPL.

  • HarryDon on January 19, 2011, 14:47 GMT

    Great Article! Kudos to the Pakistan Team, well done!! With so much attention on Pakistan cricket for the wrong reasons, finally there is a reason for cricketing fans in general and Pakistani fans in particular to cheer and be proud of the character shown by the team. I am an Indian, and it was really painful to see our neighbour, a nation which produces charismatic and sublime cricketers, be banished into the dark world. This victory proves that cricket and cricketing talent survives all onslaughts and I hope this is the beginning of a new Era. Kudos to Misbah, keeping a low profile, delivering results and not brow-beating about his achievements! Good Luck and hopefully, we will get to see a India-Pakistan World Cup final. Doesn't matter who wins, cause the cricket will be at its awesome-est best :)

  • Umair_umair on January 19, 2011, 14:34 GMT

    Agreed. That is why it is good to pick fit, in-form a good fielder Misbahd for WC2011 instead of Yousaf. Checkout Yousaf's World Cup record.

  • Fareen on January 19, 2011, 14:24 GMT

    \Respect/ He's a magician and a great captain.Though I personally believe that they should have gone for the win but also it's true that a series win means a lot to them.Congrats Misbah.

  • Vakbar on January 19, 2011, 14:22 GMT

    It is no surprise that Younis' return has stabilised the batting dramatically. Yousuf should also probably return, giving Pak 3 unproven/youthful players, balanced by two world beaters and a decent one (in Misbah). Perhaps then Umar Akmal could also be welcomed back and taught how to bat. And Younis should be number 3; Azhar ali should be allowed to find his game from a safer spot in the order.

  • SaudAlvi on January 19, 2011, 14:16 GMT

    Well written , good read :). Though at this moment I think Misbah should have used his spine can gifted Pakistan a 2/0 .. Younis would have gone for it ... but I would rather have YK in the team instead of staying out because the guys won't let him lead.

  • on January 19, 2011, 13:57 GMT

    hahaha nice presentation. we're so so bankrupt of modern heroes that we tend to deify whoever or wherever possible. yes, Misbah is great.

  • Tendulkars_Tennis_Elbow on January 19, 2011, 13:42 GMT

    Very happy for Misbah. A gentleman who has put up with selectorial whims over his entire career. With him as captain, Pakistan should be considered as one of the contenders for the WC.

  • givemefood on January 19, 2011, 13:42 GMT

    I'm sorry to say this but i did catch up on Day 4 and 5 of the test. It seems like NZ and PAK players just do not know how to play Test Cricket. There was no aggression from either side for scoring or for taking wickets. It was quite dull. A bare minimum aggression could have brought results for the game.

  • on January 19, 2011, 13:08 GMT

    From the outset I was in favor of Misbah-UHQ appointment as captain for following: He is mature, educated, and batter for the long haul ( stay power) which this team lacked. The rest speaks for itself. Less said is best without the need to put more presssure on him. Afridi may do fine as ODI captain to keep his spirit alive while he can use on field advice.

    As a note, if stay power was test match batting problem - the seggregation in two types of teams has also taken away the needed stroke play which in this instance could have given Pakisan the 2nd test victory. Here batter likes Akmal brothers, and Afridi come to mind.

    Good luck Pakistan! you have put through against many odds.

  • on January 19, 2011, 12:53 GMT

    Hope that Misbah's form continues and he mentors the youngsters like Asad Shafiq and Umar Akmal to see that Pakistani Middle order is not left with a hole when he and Younis retire.

  • DINESHCC on January 19, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    The same policy continuing in India too. If anyone performs well either as a captain or as a player everyone started praising and comparing him as next BRADMAN, VIVIAN RICHARDS ETC ETC. Let him function as cool captain and bring many wonders for Pakistan. Yesterday when Yusuf Pathan won an ODI for India, people started praising him as next VIVIAN RICHARDS, VVS LAXMAN etc. Drawing a test series with SA and won the test series with NZ is a good sign of improving. That too a second level team has achived this feat. Now it is up to the Pakistan Board to act and allow him to continue as captain for at least another two years.

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  • DINESHCC on January 19, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    The same policy continuing in India too. If anyone performs well either as a captain or as a player everyone started praising and comparing him as next BRADMAN, VIVIAN RICHARDS ETC ETC. Let him function as cool captain and bring many wonders for Pakistan. Yesterday when Yusuf Pathan won an ODI for India, people started praising him as next VIVIAN RICHARDS, VVS LAXMAN etc. Drawing a test series with SA and won the test series with NZ is a good sign of improving. That too a second level team has achived this feat. Now it is up to the Pakistan Board to act and allow him to continue as captain for at least another two years.

  • on January 19, 2011, 12:53 GMT

    Hope that Misbah's form continues and he mentors the youngsters like Asad Shafiq and Umar Akmal to see that Pakistani Middle order is not left with a hole when he and Younis retire.

  • on January 19, 2011, 13:08 GMT

    From the outset I was in favor of Misbah-UHQ appointment as captain for following: He is mature, educated, and batter for the long haul ( stay power) which this team lacked. The rest speaks for itself. Less said is best without the need to put more presssure on him. Afridi may do fine as ODI captain to keep his spirit alive while he can use on field advice.

    As a note, if stay power was test match batting problem - the seggregation in two types of teams has also taken away the needed stroke play which in this instance could have given Pakisan the 2nd test victory. Here batter likes Akmal brothers, and Afridi come to mind.

    Good luck Pakistan! you have put through against many odds.

  • givemefood on January 19, 2011, 13:42 GMT

    I'm sorry to say this but i did catch up on Day 4 and 5 of the test. It seems like NZ and PAK players just do not know how to play Test Cricket. There was no aggression from either side for scoring or for taking wickets. It was quite dull. A bare minimum aggression could have brought results for the game.

  • Tendulkars_Tennis_Elbow on January 19, 2011, 13:42 GMT

    Very happy for Misbah. A gentleman who has put up with selectorial whims over his entire career. With him as captain, Pakistan should be considered as one of the contenders for the WC.

  • on January 19, 2011, 13:57 GMT

    hahaha nice presentation. we're so so bankrupt of modern heroes that we tend to deify whoever or wherever possible. yes, Misbah is great.

  • SaudAlvi on January 19, 2011, 14:16 GMT

    Well written , good read :). Though at this moment I think Misbah should have used his spine can gifted Pakistan a 2/0 .. Younis would have gone for it ... but I would rather have YK in the team instead of staying out because the guys won't let him lead.

  • Vakbar on January 19, 2011, 14:22 GMT

    It is no surprise that Younis' return has stabilised the batting dramatically. Yousuf should also probably return, giving Pak 3 unproven/youthful players, balanced by two world beaters and a decent one (in Misbah). Perhaps then Umar Akmal could also be welcomed back and taught how to bat. And Younis should be number 3; Azhar ali should be allowed to find his game from a safer spot in the order.

  • Fareen on January 19, 2011, 14:24 GMT

    \Respect/ He's a magician and a great captain.Though I personally believe that they should have gone for the win but also it's true that a series win means a lot to them.Congrats Misbah.

  • Umair_umair on January 19, 2011, 14:34 GMT

    Agreed. That is why it is good to pick fit, in-form a good fielder Misbahd for WC2011 instead of Yousaf. Checkout Yousaf's World Cup record.