Pakistan v England 2011-12 January 7, 2012

'Better to win by playing defensively' - Misbah

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Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, has said he would rather win matches than worry about maintaining a balance between attack and defence. Though Misbah led Pakistan to six wins in 10 Test matches in 2011, there has been some criticism that he adopts a safety-first approach as captain.

"Cricket these days should be taken up with a balanced approach," Misbah said at the end of a four-day training camp at the Gaddafi Stadium organised to help Pakistan prepare for their upcoming series against England in the UAE. "[But] it's better to win by playing defensively, instead of losing by playing aggressively. It's all about the situation; what you are required to do or not do in a particular scenario."

The camp in Lahore mainly focussed on the bowlers and entailed strenuous fielding drills at the beginning of each day, as well as mental strengthening sessions for the players. Among the batsmen, Umar Akmal, Asad Shafiq, Imran Farhat and Mohammad Hafeez were spotted having intense sessions in the nets. A big positive to come out of the camp was that fast bowler Junaid Khan, who suffered an abdominal muscle strain during Pakistan's recent one-day series against Sri Lanka, was declared fit to play. The players have now dispersed and will reconvene on January 9 to leave for the UAE, with the first Test to begin on January 17 in Dubai.

England are the No. 1 Test team in the world according to the ICC rankings, but Misbah said his team would not be intimidated by their opposition's reputation. "My approach is simple in cricket: when you go onto the ground, give your 100% and focus on your performance. Forget about who the opposition is, do what you can do right, play tough cricket and then you look at the results. When you do all these things right, results will be in your favour."

While fast bowler Aizaz Cheema had said the conditions in the UAE are similar to those in Pakistan, Misbah said, based on his experience of playing in the UAE, both batting and bowling will be a challenge. "If you look at the conditions in the UAE, it's difficult for bowlers to take wickets, it's also difficult for batsman to score runs because of the slow pitches where the ball doesn't come onto the bat. It will be a challenge for both teams; both departments will have to work hard.

"England is a thoroughly professional team, and we have to put in real hard work to score runs against them and will have to bowl up to the mark to bowl them out."

The Decision Review System (DRS) is a welcome addition to the series, he said. "I always say it (the DRS) gives both teams a chance because umpires are also human-beings and they can make mistakes sometimes. This is an option for both batsmen and bowlers to help rectify the mistakes of the umpires. I am always in favour of this superb innovation. No doubt it needs better accuracy but I still believe it's quite helpful for the teams."

Pakistan had an impressive run in 2011; they did not lose any of the Test series they played and reached the semi-finals of the World Cup. They have been helped by consistent all-round performances, Misbah said. "If you look at our recent performance, Pakistan is doing well in every department: batting, spin bowling, fast bowling. We do lack [a bit] in fielding and there are a few lapses, but overall every department is doing the required hard work. Against top teams you can't depend on a specific department, you have to perform well in every department to compete."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ExplicitPlatinum on January 10, 2012, 18:35 GMT

    As being a Pakistani fan, I'm still surprised that the Pak fans would think that the other team has full advantage and that Pak can't do anything. They did this last year with Zimbabwe, saying that "Even being a Pak fan, Zimbabwe will whitewash Pak and that Pak can't win". Don't you lot even look at the positives at all apart from the bowling? Pakistan's batting line up is as great as it can be now. Look at Hafeez who is free flowing, look at Taufeeq who creeps steadily or somewhat healthily to huge scores, look at Azhar who will be the future Younis Khan, look at Younis who is in the form of his life, look at Misbah who takes him time and will play accordingly to the situation and building great partnerships and finally, look at the future great batsmen in Umar Akmal. Have faith in Pakistan and that they will win in the test series. England aren't invincible, they too have their weaknesses and their stumps will be rattled and their deliveries will be smashed.

  • ONAK.PAK on January 10, 2012, 15:03 GMT

    I think that Misbah is doing a great job as a defensive captain. If we look back he has won for us every ODI and Test series. Everyone has issue with Misbah that he is boring and doesn't actually do something, but in reality he is an amazing captain. Not everyone should have a boom-boom mentality.

  • on January 10, 2012, 10:04 GMT

    your attitude would suit better if you were captaining some team like Bangladesh ... When captaining one of the top teams in the world you shouldn't be doing this. This is exactly what Dhoni is doing at the moment too :-(

  • igorolman on January 10, 2012, 1:25 GMT

    Shock! Winning better than losing!

  • on January 10, 2012, 0:44 GMT

    is it just me or is that pic a really funny one :DD

  • on January 9, 2012, 21:01 GMT

    Test cricket is about combining more of defense with a little bit of aggression. that is why it call for a different set of players. it is different from one-day cricket. Now a days with matches ending in four days a little bit of defense or slow tactics are welcome.

  • positiveindian on January 9, 2012, 19:13 GMT

    I agree with Misbah, the ultimate goal is to win a cricket game. I am excited about the Pak-Eng series and support the Pak team. I think it all depends on how the Pak batsman perform because the bowlers are good enough to take 20 English wickets.

  • on January 9, 2012, 10:57 GMT

    Miisbah as always is very sincere and honest. He knows his strenght and weaknesses and always talks sense infront of the media. Just the right person who can take Pakistan cricket forward.

  • CricLoverPk on January 9, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    I would agree with Misbah. If we can win matches against England being defensive then why not. Winning is what really matters. In my opinion Pakistani Team is still going through a rebuilding period, where few positions still dont have perfect candidates. e.g opening partner for Hafeez.

  • on January 9, 2012, 8:45 GMT

    Misbah is the only captain material in Pak. clearly there does not seem to be any successor. U.Akmal should not have been named in the test squad. Shafiq was doing just fine. it is also time to drop Gul from the test side. he makes a mess in test cricket, the youngsters are better.

  • ExplicitPlatinum on January 10, 2012, 18:35 GMT

    As being a Pakistani fan, I'm still surprised that the Pak fans would think that the other team has full advantage and that Pak can't do anything. They did this last year with Zimbabwe, saying that "Even being a Pak fan, Zimbabwe will whitewash Pak and that Pak can't win". Don't you lot even look at the positives at all apart from the bowling? Pakistan's batting line up is as great as it can be now. Look at Hafeez who is free flowing, look at Taufeeq who creeps steadily or somewhat healthily to huge scores, look at Azhar who will be the future Younis Khan, look at Younis who is in the form of his life, look at Misbah who takes him time and will play accordingly to the situation and building great partnerships and finally, look at the future great batsmen in Umar Akmal. Have faith in Pakistan and that they will win in the test series. England aren't invincible, they too have their weaknesses and their stumps will be rattled and their deliveries will be smashed.

  • ONAK.PAK on January 10, 2012, 15:03 GMT

    I think that Misbah is doing a great job as a defensive captain. If we look back he has won for us every ODI and Test series. Everyone has issue with Misbah that he is boring and doesn't actually do something, but in reality he is an amazing captain. Not everyone should have a boom-boom mentality.

  • on January 10, 2012, 10:04 GMT

    your attitude would suit better if you were captaining some team like Bangladesh ... When captaining one of the top teams in the world you shouldn't be doing this. This is exactly what Dhoni is doing at the moment too :-(

  • igorolman on January 10, 2012, 1:25 GMT

    Shock! Winning better than losing!

  • on January 10, 2012, 0:44 GMT

    is it just me or is that pic a really funny one :DD

  • on January 9, 2012, 21:01 GMT

    Test cricket is about combining more of defense with a little bit of aggression. that is why it call for a different set of players. it is different from one-day cricket. Now a days with matches ending in four days a little bit of defense or slow tactics are welcome.

  • positiveindian on January 9, 2012, 19:13 GMT

    I agree with Misbah, the ultimate goal is to win a cricket game. I am excited about the Pak-Eng series and support the Pak team. I think it all depends on how the Pak batsman perform because the bowlers are good enough to take 20 English wickets.

  • on January 9, 2012, 10:57 GMT

    Miisbah as always is very sincere and honest. He knows his strenght and weaknesses and always talks sense infront of the media. Just the right person who can take Pakistan cricket forward.

  • CricLoverPk on January 9, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    I would agree with Misbah. If we can win matches against England being defensive then why not. Winning is what really matters. In my opinion Pakistani Team is still going through a rebuilding period, where few positions still dont have perfect candidates. e.g opening partner for Hafeez.

  • on January 9, 2012, 8:45 GMT

    Misbah is the only captain material in Pak. clearly there does not seem to be any successor. U.Akmal should not have been named in the test squad. Shafiq was doing just fine. it is also time to drop Gul from the test side. he makes a mess in test cricket, the youngsters are better.

  • on January 9, 2012, 8:37 GMT

    Gul & Riaz are good oneday bowlers. but not suited ti test cricket.

  • satish619chandar on January 9, 2012, 7:06 GMT

    Well.. Defensive batting can backfire any day.. Misbah does provide solidity but still, can do with Umar at no.6.. Provided Umar can bat with controlled aggression.. Really, the combination of Tafeeq, Younis, Misbah and Asad is really slow coach.. Good they have a good bowling attack which allows them to play to their wish.. Their challenge starts now against more formidable opponents with better bowling attack than they faced last year..

  • Cricampion on January 9, 2012, 5:09 GMT

    Pakistan cricket had been through enough lately, and all they are doing now is going through a rebuilding-phase. Pakistan need reassurances and has to regain some confidence before they start playing their customary mode of attacking cricket. Misbah is cautious, rather defensive most of the times, but probably this is what we need at this time. Misbah is needlessly criticized by fans of boom-boom style of cricket, which is good only for T20. As an educated and responsible captain, Misbah doesn't have the mindset of hitting six on every delivery and getting out cheaply more often then not. One positive note, Dav Whatmore is a naturally aggressive coach and his joining Pakistan should balance Misbah's strategy. Lastly on the UK series, well I can assure it will be more competitive than what is happening in South Africa and Australia.

  • donda on January 9, 2012, 0:47 GMT

    I think best approach is to go and draw the series against #1 team in the world. It's like conquering the mount Everest, you need to play well to be safe and never get in trouble in first place.

    I am with Misbah approach because that is test cricket. Draw or win and don't lose.

    Go ahead Pakistan and make england life difficult as much as possible because england will be aggressive because of their number 1 ranking. They are best.

  • redneck on January 9, 2012, 0:33 GMT

    misbah just hand over the captancy now... pakistan are one of the most exciting teams going around. each of your bowlers are an exciting prospect on their own yet alone bowling in tandom. please give these bowlers the attacking fields they deserve!!! this mentallity is the opposite of australias. in aus we would rather loose trying to win eg nagpur 08. we lost trying to make the runs instead of sitting around trying to bat out a draw even though we may have been able to do it. this is how you should be getting pakistan to play. why because defensive tactics are for teams playing out of their depth, ones that dont have the skill of their opponent so try to grind out a draw or a last minute win. pakistan are good enough to go for the kill from the get go, so no need to play defensive when your on equal footing with your opponents.

  • on January 8, 2012, 21:22 GMT

    I simple do not agree with his defensive strategy, at least not in this modern cricket. This is Pakistani team is lack of confidence. Like once great man said himself, fight like a cornered tigers. For sure his defensive strategy will not work against England. They will hit them hard. Take Asad Shafiq, I have seen him playing. No doubt he can be a class batsman but his body language tells different story. He look cautious and some time scare to play shots. Anyhow I wish Pakistani team good luck and I hope they can be good competitors and prove their fans wrong.

  • ExplicitPlatinum on January 8, 2012, 19:15 GMT

    My opinion is that Pakistan should not play aggressively or defensibly. They should have a healthy run rate and NOT to block deliveries that can be played for 1 run. All of you lot who keep insulting Misbah are Boom Boom fans wanting Six's after Six's. This is Test cricket and should be played with a steady run rate. By playing steady, Pakistan should win this. Hafeez is free flowing, Taufeeq can play a healthy run rate but may play defensive, Azhar is great but is a snail, Younis has the healthiest run rate and is in the form of his life, Misbah (We all know), Umar Akmal who hopefully, learned from his mistakes will definitely be free flowing. I wonder why people think that Wahab is a dodgy guy? What did he do? He should rattle the stumps and do a better job than Cheema. Junaid is the next big thing in our bowling lineup so we should support him.

  • SirViv1973 on January 8, 2012, 19:06 GMT

    Over recent weeks I have seen so many Pak fans posting comments comparing the upcoming series to 2005. 2005 will have no bearing on what happens here. Pak were playing at home and they had more world class players then. To add to that this is totally different Eng side who's goal is to remain no1 as long as poss, in 2005 the attitude was completely different we had just beaten Aus and regaining the ashes which was what the team had been working towards for the previous 3 yrs was the priorty & had just been achieve . Eng were also missing a couple of key players other players such as Tresco and Harmi had issues being away from home for long periods which effected their ability to perform the current team has no such problems and much greater strength in depth 2gether with a world class spinner. So if your posting on here please give decent cricketing reasons why you think Pak will win not just because you did in 2005 it's really boring now.

  • SirViv1973 on January 8, 2012, 17:36 GMT

    Misbah has been able to win games and series against weaker opposition by playing defensively. If Pak are to give themselves a chance of winning this series then Misbah will have to show a more bold and attacking form of captaincy. Look at Dhoni he has also been another who has adopted the ultra cautious approach which has worked against Windies , but has been punished by Eng and Aus who are much better teams. I Expect Misbah to continue with his safety first approach and I think his main goal in this series will be not to loose it. I really do think if you offered him 3 high scoring draws at this stage he would take them. Eng used to play like this themselves but under Strauss/Flower they have developed a ruthless streak and are now reaping the rewards. Perhaps at this stage Misbah doesn't feel he has the players to be attacking and aggressive.

  • JustIPL on January 8, 2012, 17:33 GMT

    It is okay to be slow while batting as Pakistan lose wickets early and it helps recovery from dire straits. Pakistan bowling is good enough for any batting lineup but fielding lets them down which puts pressure on the batting. Therefore, without cautious batting display pakistan cannot attack.

  • on January 8, 2012, 17:32 GMT

    One thing is sure, Misbah has really handled the limited resources at his disposal. but now he should get over the Gul-Riaz syndrome.

  • on January 8, 2012, 17:30 GMT

    The caution of Misbah will be most justified while playing England, they are good in Test Matches. But Misbah should attack when the time is ripe.

  • NALINWIJ on January 8, 2012, 15:13 GMT

    Every team needs a cautious approach when they are rebuilding and as the confidence grows they can afford to be more adventurous.Australia was cautious with Border and became more adventurous as they got better with Taylor and reached the peak with Waugh.Misbah''s approach is right now but a different approach is needed by next world cup.

  • on January 8, 2012, 14:30 GMT

    1 - This technique did not work in semi final though :) 2 - Pak has a decent track record against England. They defeated Eng of 2005, who had beaten the mighty aussies at home in ashes.

  • umairasgharbutt on January 8, 2012, 14:10 GMT

    misbah is a smart captain, all the every best for upcoming sereis..

  • on January 8, 2012, 13:40 GMT

    For all critics of Pak team, you'll get your answers throughout the series. England you just keep the fingers crossed and start planning for excuses :-))

  • Capround on January 8, 2012, 13:24 GMT

    Teams like India are lamenting that they do not have batsmen with the temperament to play test cricket because of too much focus on T20. In Asad Shafiq and Misbah ul Haq we have two slow and dull batsmen but, at the same time, batsmen who have the true temperament to play the attrition game of test cricket in this age of T20. We should not think of replacing or changing them -- rather we should treasure them. The current combination beat New Zealand away and Sri Lanka in a neutral venue -- a New Zealand team which tied the current Australian team away and a Sri Lanka which won a test match in South Africa. So lets not too easily discount the success of this Pakistan team.

  • on January 8, 2012, 13:08 GMT

    Bcoz of this tatics ,pak lost the match against india in the world cup.I still remember how he batted against india in a batting pitch;wasted lot of balls and trying to hit sixes in the last 2 overs!! shame on Misbah...Misbah is a stupd batsman and PAK only win matches when afridi and ajmal shines.... All their last year victories are given by bowling attack...

  • RandyOZ on January 8, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    England are going to get flogged by Pakistan, just look at their tour games!

  • on January 8, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    STUPID Captian!!!!!!!! Defensive and loathsome

  • KingOwl on January 8, 2012, 12:16 GMT

    As a Sri Lankan, I will say that Pakistan are at least as good as England, despite the latter's #1 ranking. These rankings NEVER show how good one team is against another because the ranking comes from a league like points systems, and worse, based on performances all over the world. I think Pakistan can beat England convincingly outside England. English bowlers are home track bullies. Go get them!

  • on January 8, 2012, 12:11 GMT

    the captain and coach are very sensible and they have already reached their targets. on record pakistan team looks better than any other team but lets face it!, batting still fragile! guys. We dont have aggressive world class batsmen. We need to work over our batting coz cricket is all about batting i must say.

  • ThKhan on January 8, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    I really wonder that with this attitude Pakistan can ever be on top of the ranking table. Look at the history Misbah, the golden era of WI cricket team and then dream era of any team - which Australia had from last 90s onwards -- they all played DOMINATING and AGGRESSIVE cricket and that what made them to do 5-0 white washes and more than 20 victories in a row. How can you dream of good team with a fear of loosing in your mind ???

  • bilaltirmizi on January 8, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    i think with the safety first approach pak can't win series against eng.. they can only draw the series like they did against SA .

  • on January 8, 2012, 10:53 GMT

    Everyone please_Its not about Misbah being old!For God`s sake,he`s probably the main reason Pakistan have done brilliantly this season.Each team player agrees to this and even Younis Khan said that Misbah is the best captain he`s played under.Misbah is justified,its not about winning the series 3-0.A healthy 1-0 would be great for Pakistan!they should play to the tactics,defensive if they like.And dont put Misbah under pressure of losing games against India,its was`nt just his fault.If u think u`r cricket fans, please think or even get a little more information on Misbah before pointing out that he`s wrong!Because he`s not!

  • andrew27994 on January 8, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    Though I'm an Indian I wish Pakistan all the best for all the 3 matches. Pakistan has shown so much improvement since last year, especially bowling. Hopefully their batting will also click in this series and put some pressure on England. Though they are the No.1 team they still have weaknesses in Asia. I hope this is going to be a close series but I'm personally supporting Pakistan because I want England to be knocked out from the No.1 ranking and also hope India will learn some lessons from Pakistan

  • Syed_imran_abbas on January 8, 2012, 8:46 GMT

    just wana see a good fight... misbah is doing very well and i think he deserves more admiration then criticism... pakistan need a fast bowling allrounder and good wicket keeper batsman especially for test side (adnan akmal is just below average)... Umer akmal, shafeeq and azhar ali are future of pakistans middle order.. best of luck pakistan

  • Happy_AusBang on January 8, 2012, 8:15 GMT

    I don't know what the debate is about? For me it is simple: the team has to try to maximise it's chances of winning and minimise the chances of losing. Too often, Pakistan have shown flashes of birlliance only to throw it away and lose. It is has happened simply TOO OFTEN. By playing cautiously and within themselves they now minimize the chances of losing, thereby creating the chance of winning. So long as it produces results far better than what we have been seeing in the past, I don't see why we should have a problem with that? The only disappointment recently was the drawn series against West Indies. I thought they had played the first match a bit recklessly otherwise they could have won the series 1-0 instead of drawing. Thankfully they got it right now.

  • on January 8, 2012, 8:06 GMT

    Yes i m agree with misbha

  • on January 8, 2012, 7:30 GMT

    Misbah plz learn lesson frm Dhoni and try 2 think positive if u remain positive then u will won this series

  • on January 8, 2012, 6:10 GMT

    he is a good test player only.........but i dont agree what he said as when you FEAR of lose, Fear will get you and you can not win BUT Misbah statement can be consider right for the fact that to play aggressively you need confidence which Pak team is missing due to incidences faced in recent years but confidence comes when you beat top teams... Hope Pak team beats England comfortably

  • MeAsFan on January 8, 2012, 6:02 GMT

    I have no doubt this Pakistani team can beat England in UAE, whatever ranking they have whole world knows that they badly they play in subcontinent; their blowers are not effective in subcontinent condition and their batsman cannot play spin well; last their tour to India already prove my statement. Same time I am saying this because I remember last England tour of Pakistan where England are coming with ashes win and 8-10 back to back win but also they lose against Pakistan. Good luck Pakistan team.

  • chishtyirfan on January 8, 2012, 5:05 GMT

    Pak has good record with England home and away. I don't think it matter to Pak no 1 team or not. It's gonna be exciting cricket for both.

  • landl47 on January 8, 2012, 5:01 GMT

    Misbah's tactics are fine, provided that he has the better players. Obviously he did against Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, but then all the other test playing nations have had the measure of those teams (Sri Lanka just lost their fourth series in a row). The problem for him is that England, by any measure, has better players than Pakistan. If it comes to a war of attrition, England will win. He needs something to spark his players to achieve the most of which they are capable. I don't think playing safety-first is going to do it for him.

  • D-Train on January 8, 2012, 4:18 GMT

    Couldn't disagree more. It's better to lose trying to win than simply trying to not lose.

  • Markus971 on January 8, 2012, 4:15 GMT

    An ICC World Test championship, played with preliminary matches, to qualify, would/could force players/teams to play more, for a win. These qualifying games could be played over 3 years (with the championship played on the fourth year by the top 4 teams,) & through a rewards based system, i.e. where teams collect 4 points for a win, 0 for a draw, 1 for a loss..?. get sides playing aggressively.

  • on January 8, 2012, 3:48 GMT

    As the saying goes, 'nothing succeeds like success'. Why tamper around with what works for Pakistan team.? If the team, coach and management are happy with these tactics then why change them. Agreed a little more agression would be good but if you look at it, we don't, at present have a team that can start to get intimidating to opponents.

  • on January 8, 2012, 2:48 GMT

    I think the title of this article is wrong. Misbah doesn't justify he can just TRY to justify. This approach will only work against weaker sides. Against better sides you are likely to get potential wicket taking deliveries more frequently so if you don't score quickly enough you will end up getting out with nothing on the board. Better sides will not give you easy wickets as SL, Ban, and WI have been doing. So you will have to play attacking cricket.

  • rawcrickettalent on January 8, 2012, 2:36 GMT

    yeah Misbah is right.... Once we start to beat TOP TEAMS like England,Australia,South Africa etc and develop the habit of winning then the aggression will come itself.... this series will be the turning point of Pakistan cricket!!!

  • on January 8, 2012, 2:33 GMT

    This comment about captains being too defensive is fast becoming quite old. It is easy to criticize when your own head is not on the block. Why would a captain maintain attacking fields when a batsman is on the attack? That is a chance a captain can take only if he has an exceptional bowling attack and the confidence of much success behind him. This silly overworked comment has been said about Clarke, Dhoni, Sammy, Misbah et al. i would suggest fans find something more meaningful to talk about

  • on January 8, 2012, 2:31 GMT

    I never agree with any defensive strategies. India never became a team just because they are defensive. Australia and West Indies saw dominant eras because of their attacking cricket. Misbah is bound to be defensive because he is 37 and very low on skill. Its just that a bad experiment of trying Misbah as captain has been successful and is being persisted with. Every time other team has to play badly for Pakistan to win otherwise they (Pakistanis) draw the test match.

  • LillianThomson on January 8, 2012, 2:28 GMT

    I think that Misbah is about to learn the danger of not having an all-rounder who can bowl at or above medium-pace while fitting into the top order. He will go into the Tests with 2 quicks and 2 spinners, plus an opener who can bowl innocuous part-time spin. What's he going to do if Umar Gul or Junaid Khan breaks down? What kind of attack can he use in South Africa in 12 months, when they will be battling for the world number 3 ranking and a potential place in the final 4 of the World Test Championship (which I expect to occur before 2017)? Razzaq averaged 29 as a Test batsman and bowled an average (per test) of 25-5-80-2. Misbah has a number of important challenges before going to South Africa, namely 1) Find a keeper-batsman, 2) Find a number 6 or 7 who can bowl reasonable medium pace or quicker) and 3) Choose 2 from 3 between Azhar, Umar Akmal and Asad Shafiq. I can't over-state how much they need a quick-bowling all-rounder to allow Umar & Junaid to bowl short, fast spells.

  • basharat_1978 on January 8, 2012, 0:12 GMT

    misbah is a bad player he is loser .i remember t20 final against india .2011 semi final against india he play for him not for pakistan. "[But] it's better to win by playing defensively, instead of losing by playing aggressively misbah.....but u lose with ur tactic............pakistan win inssallah not becouse him becouse god team

  • on January 8, 2012, 0:08 GMT

    Stop talking about your tactics. It may have won against Zim, Ban, SL and WI, but against Eng, you probably end up losing. Cricket is a funny game, some teams feel like they are on top of the world one day then next year they are rock bottom, every team has experienced it. let the test begin.

  • on January 7, 2012, 22:46 GMT

    Defensive play leans more towards avoiding defeat and NOT increases your chances of victory, I mean that's pretty basic common sense. And then defensive play also has its pros and cons. Your are not only inviting the opposition to pummel you even more but you also put a lot of pressure on rest of the batting line. And defensive field set up is even worse.

    Misbah has been defensive against the likes of Bangladesh, WI, Zim, NZ, and a Vaas/Murliless SL which has worked, and I guess it would have worked as well if we played a lil aggressively; however, I am not sure if this "by-default 24/7" defensive approach will work against England. I know English pacers may not be THAT effective in UAE and we have a chance to put up a good fight but the team must have a versatile approach. Together with solid defense you must also know how to attack them with that killer instinct because "Offense is also the best defense". Mr. Misbah!!

  • on January 7, 2012, 22:19 GMT

    @ Rahul: Thanks for the wishes brother. I sincerely hope, that lady luck smiles upon Indian time as well, and they get back on track. Regarding Misbah's approach, some may criticize him for being ultra defensive, but I believe that this is the right approach given the circumstances right now. Let us stabilize our team, and the aggression will come. Don't forget that his approach has resulted in a very successful year for Pakistan cricket. Through thick and thin we support you Misbah's. Go get the Englishmen :)

  • criclover112 on January 7, 2012, 21:46 GMT

    Misbah's defensive approach was justified seeing the position pakistan cricket team was in and how he was a new captain, sort of the same position as Michael Clarke was in intially (a lot of new players for australia). But i think now the team has enough performances under their belt and the squad looks stable enough that Misbah can be a bit more agressive. Just look at the declaration made by Clarke in the second test match vs india. Pure agressive approach, Misbah needs to make a statement like that as well.

  • KashifMuneer on January 7, 2012, 21:10 GMT

    I totally agree with Misbah and the safety first approach because 1) Its not easy and shows the character as well as strength of the team and 2) It will make other teams make errors by being too aggressive to counter Pakistan's approach and produce favourable results for Pakistan. Well done to the whole Pakistan team and good luck.

  • on January 7, 2012, 21:01 GMT

    if you have to chase ~250 on the 5th day with 10 wickets in hand, and you decide to play for a draw, I'd call it lethargy, not defensive play...

  • cricket_fan_1980 on January 7, 2012, 20:45 GMT

    The Pakistani batsmen need to make it a habit of hogging the crease. Just enjoy being there. Hog the crease, defend balls, put pressure on the English attack. If they can develop an appetite for long innings, the way King Sanga did for example a few years back, and Dravid has shown to do, Pakistan can become a very strong test side. Players like Azher Ali, Taufeeq, Misbah, Younis, all have the ability to become crease hoggers. That will be the way forward for Pakistan in test cricket in 2012 and 2013. Also, they could groom Asad Shafiq for tests if Umar Akmal doesnt perform. Only give Umar A a few chances! He needs to really deliver to justify his position in the test squad. I think ODI and T20 no question he is our top batsman.

  • on January 7, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    best of luck PAKISTAN for this UAE tour. we hav those players who can give difficult time in test series .

  • hhillbumper on January 7, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    I think it could be an interesting series and hopefully it can be played in a good style and not the sometimes fraught manner of matches.There have always been Pakistani players in county Cricket and frankly it has been stronger for having them. Lets just play some decent test cricket.When are Aus next playing them? Jonesey 2 talking of bowling against junior cricket standard are we due to tour Aus soon?

  • Mr.Shani on January 7, 2012, 19:45 GMT

    I cant understand why the people r criticising Misbah for his defensive approach. They should look at the overall performance in the ground and importantly at the result of the matches. I completely agree with Misbah that it's better to win by playing defensively, instead of losing by playing aggressively. We shouls look at the overall performance of the team and at the end of the day the result of the match is counted not the approach of the both teams they adopted during the match like played aggressively or defencively.

  • on January 7, 2012, 19:05 GMT

    InshAllah Will Win Series,,Under the captaincy of Cool Misbah...Misbah Rockxxxx

  • on January 7, 2012, 18:44 GMT

    Control aggression is what Team Pakistan needed, if you are in 50/50 situation for winning or drawing just show the intent that you are trying to win and not to draw, this is all we want to see. All the Best to the boys in Green, my best wishes & prayers will always be with you. Just show on the field that you are fighting, Win or Loose doesn't matter.

  • on January 7, 2012, 18:24 GMT

    i dnt really knw wt the fuss is all abt .. winning is the most important thing n it doesnt matters if its defensive or aggressive.. wearing down the opposition bowlers is nice to see frm the pakistani batsmen, i wud nvr wnt to go back to tat time whn we used to get out inside 100.. first we wanted to win nw tat we r winning we arent satisfied how we r winnin, i think this hypocrisy should finish !

  • on January 7, 2012, 18:17 GMT

    Misbah, its OK to be defensive. But you did play over-defensive and played out DRAW a couple of times when you could've easily won by playing normal (not any attacking) game.....

  • on January 7, 2012, 17:51 GMT

    misbah has a cool head and brings stability to pakistan cricket...pakistan doesnt need any mavericks to lead the team...the only thing agaisnt misbah i guess is his age but mind you even at his age he still is the fittest in the pakistan team..pakistan have the players to beat england..come on show the world we world beaters

  • No1_Jon on January 7, 2012, 17:39 GMT

    I agree with Misbah and with Noman Ahmed, at this stage of a young Pakistani test team's development solid performances, albeit rather cautiously led, will only help ingrain the importance of getting the basics right (something required by even the greatest sides in order to succeed). It's all good and welcome playing flamboyantly aggressive (bordering reckless) cricket, as associated with Pak sides in the not so distant past, but all goes down the pan if it doesn't lead to actual success; something achieved by doing your homework and getting the basics in order. Once this is achieved the natural flair that the subcontinental countries have will come through always thus fulfilling the desire, possessed by all fans, to see attacking aggressive cricket. All great cricketing sides of current times and in yesteryear must have gone through attritional early phases which subsequently strengthened their mentality in order to get to the stage of greatness.

  • on January 7, 2012, 17:32 GMT

    Whether Pakistan win or lose in this series against England, I am happy to see the thoughtful captaincy of Misbah as also the effort put in by the young players with support from the more experienced ones. Misbah is quite right to employ the tactics, albeit defensive, to achieve the desired result. Sure, the tactics may need to be modified, if they no longer click. But, for now, I do not see the need for ANY team or ANY captain to change anything which is working. I also agree with Misbah on the DRS. It has its defects but it still is better than what we have now.

  • ihaq1 on January 7, 2012, 16:33 GMT

    well u should bowl aggressively and bat steadily according to the situation...we donot have any real aggressive batsmen but have have aggressive fast bowlers and can even play four fast men which pakistan has not had the luxury of doing before...with two good left armers and aizaz/gul and one should be aggressive with field placings unless teh opposition literally runs all over u...

  • on January 7, 2012, 16:29 GMT

    Misbah's Captaincy has brought consistency in pakistan cricket..If Misbah wins series against england next month than I think he will be Pakistan's greatest captain after Imran Khan..He is a cool man..Pakistan wants a captain like him to lead them..Talking about his defensive strategy I think it will go away with time...the more matches Pak will win the more attacking he will become..

  • on January 7, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    As far as Pak-Eng cricket series is concerned; if Pakistan should play well even if they can't win the series. Pak fans will be upset only when the team will loose badly like the Indian Team doing nothing against Aussies. My message to Pak Team: Play well and don't think too much about winning matches or series; just put your utmost efforts and play positive cricket; the success will come by default.....

  • on January 7, 2012, 16:05 GMT

    I also was not a big fan of Misbah. However, keeping in view the status from where he took the captaincy of Pak Cricket; I believe he has done a great job. Lately he has also improved his own performance which was badly needed to lead his team from the front. So, overall, Pak Team has done good in 2011.

  • aak17 on January 7, 2012, 15:52 GMT

    I agree with Misbah's approach! Misbah mentions that Pk will have to bat and ball extremely well against Eng, but it's shame that he did not mention fielding, Pk has lost more matches due to substandard fielding than any other test playing countires. Eng are No. 1 team and they fully desereve their rating. Pk are an average team but an emerging force, however if every player plays to his full potentail then Pk could upset Eng. Misbah should be retained as captain until he is at least 40, providing he is batting well. On another important matter- PCB should rename Gaddafi Stadium to Imran Stadium.

  • crazier on January 7, 2012, 15:43 GMT

    Before i used to think what is this non-sense everytime playing slow and defensive.But after seeing indian bastman loosing their wicket in a hurry its better to be slow and defensive

  • Sinhaya on January 7, 2012, 15:39 GMT

    Pakistan are definitely gonna win the series. Good luck Misbah. I know you are cautious cos if your moves backfire and Pakistan lose, your cricket career will be over as you are not young.

  • malickabdul on January 7, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    For England swan and anderson have always troubled Pakistan in recent times how ever my bet is that anderson will have a tough time in UAE. In batting Trott and peterson have not faired well against hafeez or ajmal. England will look to out smart pakistan by playing 4 specialist bowlers and an all rounder. How ever if pakistan go with 3 specialist bowlers they will have tough times dismissing England. Both teams will look to play safe and my perception says this series will be a dull draw.that is if pakistan catch their chances, if they dont then perhaps barmy army can win it one/nil. For pakistan i assume this will be the last series again(unless he makes another comeback) for taufeeq umer as english bowlers will find him out again and again. If they play cheema he will find it hard to dismiss either cook or struass because he lacks the in dipper. All grounds in UAE are slow but play consistantly through out five days. So chances are for net run rate of less then 3 an over!.

  • on January 7, 2012, 15:32 GMT

    Im sure Imran Khan would go if he heard about Misbahs defensive strategy but hey it works for him.

  • Afridipak on January 7, 2012, 15:31 GMT

    Best of luck to misbah and Pak cricket team!!!

  • on January 7, 2012, 15:29 GMT

    defensive huh.. his defensiveness has already gave us one big loss at Bangalore vs india

  • UmerArain on January 7, 2012, 15:29 GMT

    He has done well as a captain but I don't agree with his defensive tactics neither will anyone with half a brain. You have to go out with a positive mindset and have to go out with a win in mind. Setting out with a defensive mindset will be detrimental for the team in the long run and against quality opposition ( Zimbabwe/Ireland/Sri Lanka/Bangladesh) are very average teams and he was defensive even against them).

    And Mohsin Khan also said something like that Misbah fears for his place in the side if he doesn't performs as a captain, which is very shocking for me, so he is in this defensive shell of his just for his own place in the team?

    Should be more aggressive with his decisions and the team needs to be more aggressive as a whole too.

  • LeftBrain on January 7, 2012, 15:25 GMT

    I never liked Misbah or his approach, well until mid-2011, but he proved me, and a lot of other critics wrong with his consistency and ability to regain the winiing habits and fighting mentality back in Pakistan team. His composure and his handling of team is superb, just the right thing Pakistan needed after whatever happened under Ijaz Butt's time. Good luck Pakistan. England, in my opinion has slightly over rated bowling unit, with none of their bowler an automatic selection in any world eleven of today, you know it is all media hype. This is the reason England and India are the teams to disappoint its fans and its paid media supporters the most, because their "superiority" most of the time, is created in media rooms and not if the field!!!

  • on January 7, 2012, 15:19 GMT

    Gd GOING Misbah :) MAY ALLAH ALMIGHTY Bless Our Team :) luv u PAKISTAN Team.......luv u Misbah <3<3<3 PROUD 2 Be A PAKISTANI =] InshAllah We ll wOn =]

  • on January 7, 2012, 15:13 GMT

    One must not forget that Misbah doesn't have bowlers like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Mushtaq Ahmed, Saqlain etc. Umra Gul is good but he isn't consistent and rest of the bowlers are still raw. The batting line up too doesn't have stalwarts like Anwar, Sohail, Miandad, Inzamam and Yusuf. Hence Pakistan have to play it safe, build more confidence and groom youngsters before they can attack like they did in the good old '90s.

    For the record, Pakistan didn't play a single Test in 2008. Although Pakistan is going well in the shorter versions, Test cricket needs a big boost.

  • spence1324 on January 7, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    @jonesy2,what! you mean the current Australian position LOL.

  • wahla101 on January 7, 2012, 14:27 GMT

    don't be so defensive to draw the won match

  • on January 7, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    Misbah You Rockssss, We Love You.......All the Best for England Tour <3

  • on January 7, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    At first I also disliked Midbah's ultra-defensive technique, but lately I have realised that being in a ituation that Pakistan was a year back, this is the right tactics. Pakistan need to stabilize itself, get into winning habit.Once they do that, aggression and confidence will automatically come along.

  • hashabjp on January 7, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    Happy for Mishab and pakistan cricket ... its good to have all team improving and winning so that there is competitive cricket going around.... hope West Indies lift their standards and they have players to do so.

  • WeeBee on January 7, 2012, 13:44 GMT

    I was there at Press Conference , He looked very calm and very confident. He never hesitated a single time when he said they will win this one as well.

  • jonesy2 on January 7, 2012, 13:36 GMT

    judging by englands bowling performance against junior cricket standard players the iic affiliates or whatever they are, england should be back down the rankings in their rightful place at 6 or 7

  • on January 7, 2012, 13:29 GMT

    pakistan gonna win the series ...........:) superb team

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  • on January 7, 2012, 13:29 GMT

    pakistan gonna win the series ...........:) superb team

  • jonesy2 on January 7, 2012, 13:36 GMT

    judging by englands bowling performance against junior cricket standard players the iic affiliates or whatever they are, england should be back down the rankings in their rightful place at 6 or 7

  • WeeBee on January 7, 2012, 13:44 GMT

    I was there at Press Conference , He looked very calm and very confident. He never hesitated a single time when he said they will win this one as well.

  • hashabjp on January 7, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    Happy for Mishab and pakistan cricket ... its good to have all team improving and winning so that there is competitive cricket going around.... hope West Indies lift their standards and they have players to do so.

  • on January 7, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    At first I also disliked Midbah's ultra-defensive technique, but lately I have realised that being in a ituation that Pakistan was a year back, this is the right tactics. Pakistan need to stabilize itself, get into winning habit.Once they do that, aggression and confidence will automatically come along.

  • on January 7, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    Misbah You Rockssss, We Love You.......All the Best for England Tour <3

  • wahla101 on January 7, 2012, 14:27 GMT

    don't be so defensive to draw the won match

  • spence1324 on January 7, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    @jonesy2,what! you mean the current Australian position LOL.

  • on January 7, 2012, 15:13 GMT

    One must not forget that Misbah doesn't have bowlers like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Mushtaq Ahmed, Saqlain etc. Umra Gul is good but he isn't consistent and rest of the bowlers are still raw. The batting line up too doesn't have stalwarts like Anwar, Sohail, Miandad, Inzamam and Yusuf. Hence Pakistan have to play it safe, build more confidence and groom youngsters before they can attack like they did in the good old '90s.

    For the record, Pakistan didn't play a single Test in 2008. Although Pakistan is going well in the shorter versions, Test cricket needs a big boost.

  • on January 7, 2012, 15:19 GMT

    Gd GOING Misbah :) MAY ALLAH ALMIGHTY Bless Our Team :) luv u PAKISTAN Team.......luv u Misbah <3<3<3 PROUD 2 Be A PAKISTANI =] InshAllah We ll wOn =]