The meticulous master of the misfit madmen will marshal them only once more. Misbahul Haq will be calling it quits after the upcoming series with the West Indies. The oldest player on the team, yet the most physically fit, becoming a permanent fixture in the national side at the age of 33 when most cricketers retire, the captain of the Pakistan cricket team and no gold chain around the neck, nor billboards plastered around the country plugging endorsements, Misbahul Haq will forever remain the quagmire we never fully understand and maybe never fully appreciated.
Although his record for being the most successful Test captain for Pakistan and his batting averages speak volumes for his cricketing ability, Misbah’s greatest contribution to Pakistan cricket will forever be bringing Pakistan cricket out of the negative spotlight of the 2010 spot-fixing scandals. He took a maligned squad, moulded it in his own image of hard work and calm demeanour and turned it into the number one ranked Test team in the world.
The world forgot about the tainted trio of 2010 and started focusing on Misbah’s XI who started playing like no Pakistan team had played before; cold and calculated and more importantly, winning cricket. It is a shame that most Pakistan cricket fans were never able to see Misbah ply his trade at home due to the defacto embargo placed on home games after the attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009.
As with anyone who stands in a leadership role, however, Misbah, too, drew criticism at times for his decisions and inability to overturn losing streaks in 2013. Fortunately, for domestic fans, his retirement is only from international matches and they can enjoy his batting tricks on home ground in the coming years. Resonating with his own words, he does leave the hopes of international cricket behind. All in all, though, Misbahul Haq, thank you for your service to this country in reviving the fervour for international cricket.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2017.2017-04-06