DUBAI: Pakistan team manager Naushad Ali on Sunday praised captain Misbahul Haq, saying his leadership qualities are key to the team's progress after a turbulent last year marred by a spot-fixing scandal in England.
Haq led Pakistan to a comfortable nine-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the second Test here on Saturday, taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
The first Test in Abu Dhabi ended in a draw.
Since taking over as Test captain in the post spot-fixing scandal, Haq has not lost any series with Pakistan winning four of nine Tests, losing one and drawing the other four.
Haq, 37, will also lead Pakistan in one-day and Twenty20 versions of the game after Shahid Afridi was sacked in May this year.
Ali, a former wicket-keeper batsman, said Haq is key to their success.
"Haq is a wise captain and his best quality is that he is cool," said Ali.
"Haq is the key and as a batsman also he is in great form since being made captain."
Ali said a series win over Sri Lanka is crucial if Pakistan want to climb the rankings.
"If we beat Sri Lanka in the series then our current sixth ranking will improve to fifth and that will also lift the Pakistan players before the all important series against the world number one Test team England," said Ali, who played six Tests for Pakistan in 1960s.
Ali said a steady and consistent performance from Pakistan is essential.
"Look, Pakistan has never been regarded as a consistent team but this bunch of players has shown keenness to do well and if the team remains steady only then will we be able to put our problems behind (us)," said Ali, also a former selector.
Ali said new Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf's encouragement after the win was good for the players.
"The new chairman sent flowers to all the players after the win and encouraged the captain and every player which is a source of enhancing the confidence before the third Test," he said.
The third Test in the series starts in Sharjah from November 3.
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