Misbah is not the problem

Published: February 23, 2012
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Forget the leadership crisis – there isn’t one just yet. Batting is and has been the main worry. PHOTO: AFP

If attack is the best form of defence, Misbahul Haq surely doesn’t believe in it. He is a calm character whose presence on the field is barely felt at times and – on some occasions – hardly even matters. He’s patient so he waits until he gets a chance to pounce and at times, it backfires.

But he has built a reputation, and a good one, to steer Pakistan past many obstacles in dire circumstances and, while the adrenaline levels remain low, fans ought to be proud of the results ‘captain cool’ has achieved since he has taken charge.

The criticism remains, like for every leader, that he misses a trick or two. At times it’s frustrating to even imagine a character like Misbah lead a traditionally mercurial, yet excitingly talented, Pakistan line-up. The recently-concluded One Day International series, where Pakistan were exposed in every department of the game in each match, has given an opportunity to his critics to come out with all guns blazing.

Sacking Misbah is not the solution even if one were to overlook the preceding series victories. It should not even be considered as a choice. This will compound problems since there was never a deputy – and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is to blame for it. The board is happy to bring in Dav Whatmore as the coach to instill professionalism, and I concur, keeping in mind the 2015 World Cup. But what about the leader? Surely, there has to be a deputy named to succeed the 37-year-old Misbah.

Forget the leadership crisis – there isn’t one just yet. Batting is and has been the main worry. Make them face a few quality pacers and you’ll see them offer a catch behind the stumps or dance around, ungracefully, on the crease. In Australia and New Zealand, where the next World Cup will be held, their problems will double. Facing two new balls from each end will cause additional issues.

While there have been moments of brilliance and some talented men with the willow are present, the package lacks spark, adaptability, consistency and in some cases maturity – Umar Akmal being a fine example. Why not experiment with separate teams for limited-over’s cricket and Tests with only a few commoners?

Fast-bowling, Pakistan’s stronghold, was damaged the moment Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were banned but spinners more-than made up for their absence. But in limited-over’s cricket with the bowlers’ quota of over’s and defensive fields, their effect lessens considerably. Batsmen no longer fear charging down the track and their intent of scoring runs quicker put Misbah on the back foot even further.

They say winning isn’t everything since a defeat teaches you so much more. Only if Pakistan is willing to learn, the 4-0 whitewash can be seen as a blessing in disguise since the preceding Test series put us over the moon and for any team, that is not a good sign.

 

bilal.memon

Bilal Memon

The author is the business editor of The Express Tribune.

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