KARACHI: Pakistan’s outgoing ODI skipper Misbahul Haq has revealed that he had been waiting for the right moment to call time on his career in the limited over formats; the moment has now arrived.
Still standing tall despite approaching his 41st birthday, Misbah, for the longest time, has been a target of criticism for being a defensive leader and for failing to accelerate his pace in tense situations.
But, amid the ups and downs, he has led the Pakistan team with distinction during his four years as captain, and now, as he takes a step back, he is hopeful of giving the youngsters waiting in line a chance to cement their place in the national side.
“I had been planning my retirement from ODIs for a long time but I was waiting for the right moment,” said Misbah during the commencement of the team’s training camp for the World Cup, with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shaharyar Khan standing next to him.
“I had told the board’s chairman and the others a week before it was made public that I don’t want to continue playing T20 and one-day cricket after the World Cup, and they supported my decision.
“I’m grateful for being blessed with such a career. I want to thank my family, the PCB, fellow players, coaches, teachers, fans, and my club and department for all their support which allowed me to become the cricketer I am today.”
The 40-year-old has so far appeared in 153 ODIs for Pakistan, scoring 4,669 runs at an average of 42.83 with 37 half-centuries in the process; however, he is yet to score a hundred in the 50-over format.
Although he’s hanging his boots in the limited-over formats, Misbah believes he still has the ability to represent Pakistan in all-whites.
According to the skipper, the decision to retire has given him extra motivation to give his best at the World Cup, unlike the general perception that there will be no pressure on Misbah to perform.
“It’s not like the decision has taken the wind out of my sails. I’m more motivated than ever, given that it’s my last tournament. I want to give it my all for my team and for my country,” stressed Misbah.
PCB chief backs retirement call
PCB chief Shaharyar said he had great respect for players such as Shahid Afridi and Misbah, who have decided to retire on their own.
“I really appreciate that a player decides to retire, so I respect both Misbah and Afridi. We won’t put pressure on anyone to give up on cricket,” commented Shaharyar on the occasion.
“It’s regrettable that Misbah has decided to quit ODIs and we’ll lose a top player, an outstanding captain and a respectable person, but the good thing is that he is willing to carry on in the Test format. It’ll be difficult to find such a decent player.”
The chairman further added that, after holding a discussion with Misbah about who would take over from him, they would most likely give a chance to someone from the new crop instead of a tried and tested captain.