Why we hate Misbah

Published: February 29, 2012
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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.