Age may be catching up with him, but for his Board officials and fans, Misbah-ul-Haq (42) still remains the go-to man. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) wants Misbah to continue as captain of the Test team till 2018, according to a report in Dawn.
“Though Misbah is independent to decide about his future, the PCB has suggested him to continue till 2018,” said PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan in an interview to the newspaper. “Because of his excellent fitness, Misbah can easily play international cricket for few more years. Besides, he is calm, well-educated, calculative and balanced and enjoys a lot of respect in the team,” he added.
“We have a couple of names in our minds regarding who would lead the side after Misbah’s retirement but we need to analyse them in detail before taking any decision, he said. “Both Azhar and Sarfraz Ahmed are good choices but the former’s batting suffers whenever he leads the side. All-rounder Imad Wasim can also be a candidate as he has impressed the PCB with his ability of handling pressure at crucial stages of matches,” elaborated Khan to Dawn.
Misbah has represented Pakistan in 69 Test matches (50 as skipper). He recently returned home from New Zealand due to a family crisis. In July this year, Misbah became the oldest captain to score a hundred when he reached the three-figure mark at Lord’s. With 8 centuries as captain he also has to his credit the maximum number of centuries by a Pakistani skipper in Test matches surpassing current chairman of selectors Inzamam-ul-Haq’s 7 tons.
Misbah made his Test debut against New Zealand at Auckland in 2001, but had a roller-coaster ride for Pakistan before cementing his place. Between 2003 and 2007, he didn’t figure in Pakistan’s scheme of things for the five-day format. It was only in 2007, that Misbah made a comeback into the Test team. And he hasn’t disappointed though.
Since taking over as the captain of the Test team after the match-fixing scandal involving the then skipper Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, Misbah has been phenomenal both as a player and captain. As skipper Misbah averages 46.48 in 87 innings which is more than his overall average of 47.79 in Tests. So, it’s not surprising that PCB still looks to Misbah to lead the Test team to greater heights.