The Misbah era starts

Let’s hope the future holds something good for Pakistan cricket during yet another Misbah era

Abdul Majid September 27, 2019
Misbah’s appointment on the dual role of head coach and chief selector gives him the power to run the show alone, which means he will be answerable for more stuff than any other head coach or chief selector has been. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: The world loves leaders who inspire change, break the status quo and bring in a revolution of sorts. People of the present revere them while the future generations look at them to receive encouragement. Pakistan’s head coach-cum-chief selector Misbahul Haq is a leader of this stature, however, he has now taken up a task which no man has ever come out of with his respect intact, mostly.

Since the exodus of international cricket in Pakistan, no coach has prepared a team to play in the country, in front of the home crowd. The pressure of expectations is back-breaking when you are playing in front of a home crowd.

Misbah has been preparing the Pakistani players for exactly that since his appointment. To endure the pressure of expectations, to resist the temptation of playing for self in front of friends and family rather than for the team, to win and win convincingly and even if the opposition is too strong for you, to lose with grace.

The verdict is still not out on whether Misbah, known for his defensive approach and a reactive mindset during his captaincy days, will be the same as he was or will he change and help Pakistani cricketers become mindfully aggressive operators on the field.

Comment: Welcome Sri Lanka, we won’t let you down

The ODI and T20I series against a second-string Sri Lanka side may help everyone see what the new Pakistani team will look like under Misbah, but keep in mind that the man with dual responsibility will be facing bigger challenges than this. This series may well be in Pakistan’s bag even before it starts because they have announced a full-strength squad since Misbah doesn’t believe in taking any team ‘lightly’.

However, when the celebrations end after the Sri Lanka series, Misbah and his charges will have to start looking forward to the upcoming challenges nearly immediately.

Firstly, because Misbah has a three-year tenure and with the power he has bestowed upon due to the dual role, everyone is expecting him to pull of miracle after miracle.

Comment: Welcome Sri Lanka, we won’t let you down

Secondly, with great power comes great accountability and if Misbah in unable to live up to any one or both the roles, then the naysayers who thought that one man should not have two positions, and powerful ones, will then have a much stronger case.

All in all, the Misbah era has been set into motion. Sri Lanka is the first hurdle that the former captain faces, but other stiffer trials lie in wait. It may be too soon to say this but this time around, there will be less or nearly no talk about players’ performances, or Sarfaraz’s leadership after every series, because now only one man will be responsible and answerable for everything good and bad that happens to Pakistan cricket.

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