New Zealand v Pakistan, 4th ODI, Napier

'Afridi is doing a good job' - Misbah

Andrew Fernando at McLean Park

February 1, 2011

Comments: 79 | Text size: A | A

Misbah-ul-Haq is congratulated by Younis Khan on reaching his half-century, New Zealand v Pakistan, 4th ODI, Napier, February 1, 2011
Misbah-ul-Haq's 93 not out in Napier was his highest ODI score © Getty Images
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Misbah-ul-Haq has come out in support of Pakistan's current ODI captain Shahid Afridi amid uncertainty as to who will lead the team during the 2011 World Cup. Pakistan have not yet named a captain for their World Cup squad, and there has been speculation that Misbah, who has led the Pakistan Test team in their last two series, is being considered for the role, but he said he was happy to play under Afridi.

"The team has gelled well. Whoever is the captain, everyone will play for the team and for the country," Misbah said. "I think Shahid Afridi is doing a good job. We have no problems and whoever is the captain, we will go out there and play our game.

"Everybody is in good form. That's a good thing for the team. Everybody's contributing and getting scores; even the bowlers are doing well, so these are good signs [for the World Cup]."

Misbah has been in supreme form in New Zealand. In three innings in the one-day series so far, Misbah has made 178 runs, including the match-winning 93 not out at McLean Park on Tuesday. In the Tests, he notched up 231 runs at an average of 115.50.

On Tuesday, Misbah came in to bat with Pakistan facing a collapse at 84 for 3, chasing New Zealand's 262. He rebuilt alongside Younis Khan with an 89-run partnership to lay the foundation for the Pakistan innings, before accelerating with the tail to haul in the rising asking rate and topple the hosts with an over to spare.

"It's really good for me, I'm really enjoying playing in New Zealand," Misbah said. "My performance is going well and I'm doing a good job for the team."

Misbah credited the faith the selectors and team have displayed in him. His run of form began in the two-match Test series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates, in November, when he scored three half-centuries and helped Pakistan draw the series. "A lot of things are behind it [my form]. I've taken a lot of confidence from the team management and a lot of confidence from the selectors, the coach and the captain and that makes a big difference. Cricket is all about confidence. At the moment the confidence is high and that's why I'm scoring runs."

In his innings in Napier, Misbah was cautious to begin with, playing simple, risk-free cricket during the middle overs to ensure Pakistan had a solid foundation for the lower-order hitters to launch from, before taking it upon himself to raise the run-rate when Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi failed to make an impact. Misbah was on 64 off 78 deliveries when the batting Powerplay was taken in the 43rd over, but had raced to 93 off 91 by the time Pakistan reached their target.

Two consecutive boundaries through square leg in the 43rd over kept Pakistan in touch with the asking rate and Misbah's six and four off the first two balls of the 48th over swung the game decidedly in favour of the visitors. "My idea was that I should stay till the end since the other guys coming in were good hitters, so I was confident that we would get the total. In close situations like that, if you panic there are problems. But if you relax, you can get through."

The innings was Misbah's highest ODI score, eclipsing his 79 not out against West Indies in 2008. Sohail Tanvir walloped 14 runs in the 49th over to finish things off and leave Misbah seven runs short of a century, but Misbah claimed he wasn't disappointed at being denied a maiden one-day hundred.. "The win for the team is important. Personal goals aren't that important, so I'm happy."

Andrew Fernando writes for The Pigeon and blogs here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JUJU1000 on (February 4, 2011, 8:35 GMT)

Amir and akhtar is a must in worldcup as bowlers.........and imran anzir neep to keep opening with kamran.....inshah allah amir will be coming to team very soon...

Posted by   on (February 4, 2011, 4:54 GMT)

Perfect Combination, I just want Younus Khan Out of this Squad, as he is making things difficult for the Team. He cant Hit a Six and find it difficult to rotate strike. On the Other hand, Umer Akaml must be Promoted up the order. He is a genuine Batsman, but he always been thrown, when Pak desperately need fast run rate due to Younus and Misbah's Slow bating. Hafeez and Ahmad Shahzad must Open, Kamran Akmal must come if wicket has fallen inside 10 overs, Umer Akaml come in Next. Misbah should bat at Number 5, Asad Shafique/Azhar Ali should bat at number 6, Razzaq Should come at 7, And next Afridi, Sohail Tanweer, Wahab Riaz and Umar Gull.

** Asad Shafique and Azhar Ali must be given chance and preference should be given to one who performs well consistently. GOD Bless Pakistan..

Posted by   on (February 2, 2011, 20:41 GMT)

I think this is the best combination we can have in these circumstances but i will prefer saeed ajmal aur abdur remhan in the remaining two matches.

Posted by   on (February 2, 2011, 16:55 GMT)

We really need AAMIR BACK!!!! Everyone plz pray to God he comes back. He wud be great inclusion in the team. He was such a cheerful and happy guy,and he wud help keep others dedicated, and the team spirit high. So everyone please make dua he caomes back!!!! Missing him for world cup not good!!!:(

Posted by sasidev on (February 2, 2011, 15:28 GMT)

Pakistan has a good team. They have 50% chance in any match. Afridi & Razzak are the key. If the team bat well to reach 180 from 40 overs with wickets in hand they will put 300 with any bowling attack. Cool head at the top is required. Bowling is ok. Waqar need to plan it for the youngsters. Shoaib need to fire at the top.

Posted by Chona on (February 2, 2011, 13:26 GMT)

I am happy at seeing Pakistan taking the lead....but I am perplexed at the critics on show at Pakistani media...All they were trying to do was to bash Shahid Afridi for his so called irresponsible dismissal...Just 3 day ago he hit 65 off 25 balls and took match from 171 off 40 overs to 293 off 50 overs....it was match winning inning...but today he failed and everyone started criticizing....He is NO BRADMAN....So much so even Bradman did not score 20+ in every inning. I think it has become a part of match analysis to criticize AFRIDI.....If he does well then that will be due to bad bowling of opposition...if he does wrong then it will be due to his own folly....If you go through replay of Afridis dismissal then you will see that it was an arm ball at almost yorker length with no change in action...so it was more a case of variation by bowler than batsman doing all the wrong things..!! Afridi is a hitter and Misbah is anchor so evaluate each player with respect to their roles in team!!!!

Posted by KYZA on (February 2, 2011, 12:03 GMT)

IMRAN NAZIR DESTROYED IT TODAY 114 RUNS OFF 68 BALLS 19 FOURS 3 SIXES, DOES HE WARRANT A WORLD CUP PLACE?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (February 2, 2011, 10:19 GMT)

Boys are peaking at right time.!I am especially enjoying it as I can see matches in the ground. However, there are some issues.First of all, Sohail Tanvir seems v. average compared to what he used to be. It probably would have been better to include Tanvir Ahmad or what about that Under.19 all rounder Hammad Azam?..never the less, Sohail Tanvir offers something in batting however his core role is a bowler and he shud improve that & his fielding as well.Other issue is Pakistan does not have any left handers at all in the top six. Left handers can be highly useful. I wonder if Fawad Alam deserved a chance?Asad Shafiq is defintely good but he has been selected because of one inning. Fawad should have been in the team.Furthermore What is Shoib Akhtar's role?I was disappointed to see him flop in first ODI as really he has done well in last year or so.I hope he gets atleast one more match in the series.It does not matter who the captain is as Misbah and Afridi both offer sumthing different..

Posted by   on (February 2, 2011, 10:07 GMT)

good win for pakistan but they should have won it much more easily but hey that is what makes pakistani team what it is. they should bring asad shafiq in place of kamran akmal (asad shafiq can keep as well if rameez raja is to be believed) and bring shoaib akhtar or abdul rehman in place of sohail tanvir to give more teeth to the bowling attack which is a bit thin on wicket taking. even if aamir is not cleared pakistan will do well inshallah in the world cup and reach at least semi final

Posted by fkhatri123 on (February 2, 2011, 9:24 GMT)

Misbah played a great knock.. but world cup captaincy should go in favour of afridi because misbah doesn't have any expereince for ODI's captaincy.

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