Why we hate Misbah

Published: February 29, 2012

When Pakistan lost to England, like all of our country’s misfortunes and losses, we decided to make our captain the scapegoat. PHOTO: AFP

First of all, let me apologize for the misleading headline. This is not a hate article about Misbahul Haq, nor is it one which supports him. When Pakistan lost to England, almost all of us decided to blame him for the defeat. Like all of our country’s misfortunes and losses, we decided to make our captain the scapegoat.

Let us recall the events that culminated in Pakistan’s defeat. We had an opener (Hafeez) who didn’t score a single run, Afridi who got run out for three and didn’t take any wickets, Umar Gul who got hit around by Pietersen, a pitch as dead as a Pakistani politician’s honesty and Cheema who bowled a lollypop of a full toss in the last over.

Oh, and a monster named Kevin Pietersen who I think was the difference between the two teams, with only two other batsmen reaching double figures from his side. But still, we blame only Misbah. Yes, Misbah batted badly and had the lowest strike-rate amongst the Pakistani batsmen but he wasn’t the sole reason we lost. He was a factor, not ‘the factor’.

The sad truth is that we need a Zardari in every aspect of our society that we can put all the blame on. We, in a matter of few days, forgot that Misbah was the captain who resurrected the team from the deepest grave of the spot-fixing scandal. During his captaincy, not only did Pakistan remain undefeated in the Test series, but it also managed to give tough competition in the limited over version of the game. It was his pure genius that used our spinners against England to defend a total of 150 in the second Test of this tour.

But we still reminisce about Shahid Afridi’s captaincy.

We forgot how Afridi, due to personal differences with the coach and management, left the team without a captain and a strike bowler. We forgot how many times he failed as a batsman when he did come back into the team and most of all, we forgot the number of times he failed as a bowler in this tour. Our nation suffers from collective amnesia when it comes to Afridi. If he fails to block, we say:

That’s just Afridi, he is like that!

However, when Misbah failed to accelerate his innings we fail to recall everything good that he has done for our cricket. Misbah’s strike-rate is 75 in ODI’s,  so asking him to score runs quickly is equivalent to asking Afridi to play a defensive stroke.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to criticize, but to disrespect the captain of a team which has beaten a number one Test side just a few days ago is just sad, and a sign of a nation which is desperate to blame all their problems on one person. Even though I think Misbah should be asked to give up his captaincy in the limited overs format, to treat him the way we did is like humiliating a general for losing you a battle even though he has won you a war.

We lost to England due to many people, not just Misbah. The Pakistani population on Facebook represents the educated -or the English literate to be accurate – class of our society but sadly, it behaved like an illiterate and ignorant one.

For our nation,  Misbah is the new Zardari of cricket.

Shariq Najeeb

Shariq Najeeb

A dentist who is passionate about cricket and politics. Shariq currently lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and tweets @shaq_najeeb.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Syed Ali Raza

    Impressive article, comments full of none sense against Misbah.
    If Misbah dont deserve place in team, no other player deserve to play in team too.
    Im big fan of Misbah, i like him because he is responsible not any fluke,even if he failed twice or thrice does’nt mean he is failed captain or batsman….
    why do we blame Misbah. what was the performance of other players…
    and i have seen Afridi in 2nd t20…..what have he done…did he brought you the victory…infact he was’nt even able to stay till last ball of the match.

    PCB have no other option regarding captaincy in any format of game,even they dont want Afridi as a captain, who was not able to protect 27 runs in a over under his captaincy in last t20 wc semi final against Australia……why did he ask Ajmal to bowl the last over???….why din’t Afridi bowled the last over himself, I bet even if he had 1 over left to bowl….he never come near to the pitch.

    Misbah ul haq you are a legend…you are a great captain…u deserve honourRecommend

  • Zaid Hamid.

    he lost to india?Recommend

  • naeem hussain

    Just a couple of weeks ago every body was praising Misbah after winning the test series against England but now suddenly he is the target of wrath of the whole country. Why just every body picking on Misbah what about selection? how Imran Farhat, Shoib Malik,Younis Khan and Hafeez deserve to be in the team? the nepotism in selection is responsible for defeat in one day’s and T/20s. Let me give you another good new according to Express news Mohammad Sami will be selected for Asia cup. Recommend

  • http://pakistanshows.com/PakistanTVShows/geo-news/khabarnaak khabarnaak

    Totally agree with Nehal’s Suggestion that misbah should restrict himself in test cricket only.Recommend

  • Fatima Liaqaut

    Veryy well said!Recommend

  • umer

    honestly speaking Misbah is wholly responsible not only against England but for world cup semifinal and T20 world cup final against India he is very dead captain he is no guts at all within a short spell of time Jayawardene changed the whole team performance cos he knows how and when the and which bowler should use but Misbah is standing in the field like a dead body and doesn’t knows how to pressurize the Opponent the selector can do one thing he should be captain for the test serial and no more .Recommend

  • http://deleted umer

    honestly speaking Misbah is wholly responsible not only against England but for world cup semifinal and T20 world cup final against India he is very dead captain he is not guts at all within a short spell of time Jayawardene changed the whole team performance cos he knows how and when the and which bowler should use but Misbah is standing in the field like a dead body and doesn’t knows how to pressurize the Opponent the selector can do one thing he should be captain for the test serial and no more Recommend

  • Cynical

    ‘Why we hate Misbah?’

    Simple! ‘Hate’ is our life line.It’s the sole purpose of our existence.We love to hate.
    Hate east,hate west,hate within,hate without; ’cause we are the centre of the universe (and right) and everything (is wrong) that revolves around us.

    Look at the caption! ‘Why we hate Misbah?’ as I understand, it would have been more appropriate had it been, ‘Why Misbah is not popular?’
    But then, even the author knows his readers and knows that ‘HATE’ sells.
    Enough said.Recommend

  • Haszan baleegh

    Nice point of view. Totally agree with you.Recommend

  • Mahmood Hussain

    I am sorry I have to totally disagree Mr. Shariq. One should either do not give any credit for that test series win to Misbah or should blame him for this shameful defeat. Its not about the strike rate or his slow batting but about his crminal acts at crucial moments of an innings. Its now almost a regularity that he doesn’t take take simply and easily available singles when scoreboard needs to be rotated. He thus puts unnecessary pressure on other batsmen who in turn are criticized for playing bad shots. We must think about poor Umar Akmal who is being constantly batted at number 6 where he will consider himself as a hitter. And if his hitting doesn’t come off, he is criticized for playing bad shots. If we closely analyze Misbah’s such acts as there can be two main reasons. A. He is just not good enough to even manage singles with four fielders right at the edge of the inner circle; or B. He doesn’t want Pakistan to win. People often talk about that plain non-sense keeping the head and taking it to the end strategy. But my dear even if Misbah keeps his head and takes it to the end, after an infinite number of overs, he will remain a Misbah and won’t become a Viv Richards. After that Mohali debacle and the recent one against England, he is still trying to justify himself and not realizing that he should quit himself because he will surely sooner or later be kicked out of limited overs side at least. Recommend

  • umar

    well saidRecommend

  • adil8

    “Our nation suffers from collective amnesia when it comes to Afridi”.

    That Lines Sums Up Everything!! Thanks For Da Wise Words!!

    Thanks Misbah For Defeating World No 1 Test Side 3-0!!

    THANKS Afridi For Quitting Test Cricket and Biting the Ball!! Recommend

  • Haider

    This article has no sense at all. Misbah was the key factor in making his team to lose against England. The flaw in Misbah batting is to “not rotate the strike”. His batting strategy is a crap. A bad ball that needs to be hit for a boundary is just STOPPED. He creates pressure on the batsman on the non-striker end. The other batsman has no option but to hit while Misbah continues his normal Tuk Tuk game. Even commentators were saying again and again “Whether the ball was too good to be stopped, or Misbah stopped a bad ball”
    His batting strategy is always a failure. Misbah even made Pakistan to lose in Semi-Final of World Cup and even small kids of Afridi knows the flaw in Misbah batting.

    Promoting himself up the order in T20 game against England creates doubt in my mind if this match was fixed.Recommend

  • Awais Ch

    Zardari enjoys immunity, Misbah dont…. LOLRecommend

  • Faizi Mughal

    In my life i never saw such a coward captain like Misbah. He is never a good finisher, you know why? because he never thought to end game but stretch it to last six balls. I am sure you would have heard the quote of Alexander. An army of sheep led by a lion are more to be feared than an army of lions led by a sheep. He is a sheep not a lion.Recommend

  • http://www.asadakahawk.blogspot.com asadakahawk
  • Abdul Rehman Butt

    We live in country where cricket is followed like religion, its cricket who unites the nation on the time big matches. I have seen crowd of thousand dancing at the same time in front of ISE Tower Islamabad after winning shoot against Australia in world cup. Can we witness such moments on other occasions. Some times, we do unjustified criticism but it is due to emotional reasons rather than the statical reason. Recommend

  • Faran

    Please any one tell me when misbah make any good innings and make 100. in his 100 matches he make
    .
    .
    .
    0 100′s.
    Wao what a record.

    Thanks PCB you are great you found what a diamond.
    I know others are also same yonas and afridi but the difference is winning or spirit.
    misbha don’t have any of themRecommend

  • Tanvir

    It is a well-written article.Recommend

  • Raf

    @ Syed Nehal Ahmed… you mentioned in your post that “Misbah inaugrated his hotel gifted after wc2011 loose” ….hahahaaaa…..please tell where is that ?????? .hahahaa … such a foolish. according to my information Misbah has only two properties in this whole world and they are all in Lahore…one of them is his living house….Recommend

  • Raf

    @Syed Nehal Ahmed: hahahahhaaaaaaaaaa……. such a foolish answer
    Where is that hotel?????…Recommend

  • Usman

    He should remain captain but should not be allowed to bat.Recommend