Responding in kind: Tuk tuk departs with a bang as he lashes out at former cricketers

Misbah determined to keep playing Test cricket, blames media for unfair criticism

Our Correspondent March 24, 2015
The 40-year-old played 162 ODIs and finished his career without a century as he made 5,122 runs at an average of 43.40 with as many 42 fifties and a strike-rate of 73.75. PHOTO: WASEEM NIAZ

KARACHI: Misbahul Haq’s career is shaped like one of his typical innings. He came in late, took his time to adjust, got his eye in before accelerating and departs with a bang. After Pakistan’s elimination in the quarter-final, Misbah has now hit back at former cricketers for constantly singling him out for the team’s failures.

The 40-year-old played 162 ODIs and finished his career without a century as he made 5,122 runs at an average of 43.40 with as many 42 fifties and a strike-rate of 73.75.

He became the lightening rod of criticism whenever the team failed, with experts either targeting him for his slow batting approach or for his defensive captaincy; hardly ever getting the praise he deserved for being the lynchpin of the side for nearly four years.

The likes of former cricketers Shoaib Akhtar, Muhammad Yousuf and Sikander Bakht had constantly been on Misbah’s case during the World Cup. “The whole world encourages their teams but it seems that some of our ex-players have a one-point agenda,” said Misbah in an outburst which came with that trademark calmness but still included hard-hitting points. “If batting flops, then it is due to Misbah. If the bowling flops, then it is also due to Misbah. There is a need to improve the whole system instead of putting the blame for everything on an individual.”

Misbah claimed that the selection committee was the final authority for selection and he could only give his advice and not disagree with their decisions, while the coach and captain should both have responsibility and authority.

He also urged the media to not allow anyone to say anything without any check and balance, and stressed that they share the responsibility of the negativity spreading through their forum. “Media houses are also responsible for this because they hire anyone and everyone,” he said, before pointing to Pakistan’s failures prior to his arrival into the side. “I was not there in the 2003 and the 2007 World Cups but what happened then? The team was full of seniors so someone should ask them as well that what they did in those World Cups.”

Misbah, who will keep playing Test cricket, added that he is satisfied with his career because he did whatever he could and gave his best. He also defended the decision of persisting with Shahid Afridi, stating the team was banking on him as a senior player and powerhouse because he was the only genuine all-rounder in the side but failed to perform.

The middle-order batsman added that the whole team gave their full effort throughout the event. “Everyone fought hard and we lost the quarter-final against the number one side in the world. There was even a stage where we were in a winning position but then catches were dropped,” he said.

Responding to a question regarding his slow strike-rate, Misbah explained that in most of the matches, the situation demanded him to stay at the crease because whenever he got out, the side found it hard to bat 50 overs, otherwise he would have liked to contribute run-a-ball scores.

He also hoped that things will be planned looking at the long term situation. “It’s a good time for Pakistan to properly plan for the future in the upcoming series against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It’s unfortunate that there is consistency and stability in the Test team but it’s not the same in the ODIs,” he added. “We haven’t been able to match other top teams in batting and fielding and it is our bowling which has been forced to compensate for the other two departments.”

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Ali Akber | 6 years ago | Reply @Makran: I'm probably criticizing our team less than Misbah has himself. Being a captain, he has taken no responsibility for the loss and only talked about the selection issues after retiring. However, he had said himself that he had called on Jamshed and didn't play Sarfaraz or Yasir Shah. Teams like England and West Indies has faced similar criticism, if not worse, but I don't think either captains have lashed out at the criticizers or their fans.
Makran | 6 years ago | Reply @Ali Akber: You are repeating the same mistake all over again. Misbah is right. No other country treats its cricketers like this. Criticism all the time. How can they perform? They are always afraid to fail so they will never take an risk. Maybe it would be better to disband the team. Then you people will be happy.
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