Will continue to play domestic cricket - Misbah
“Yes! Whatever you have been hearing recently is true,” Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan Test captain, told reporters at the Qaddafi Stadium in Lahore when asked to confirm reports about his retirement after the three-match Test series against the West Indies.
For the past two years, Misbah had been widely suggested on the media to retire from the international cricket. The cries intensified in January this year after Pakistan were whitewashed 3-0 by Australia Down Under.
Pakistan have never won a Test series in the Caribbean and the upcoming series provides Misbah an opportunity finish off his career on a high note. "The series against West Indies is a good opportunity to bring the team back on the winning track,” Misbah said when asked about the challenges his side faced after losing six Tests in a row since their defeat to the West Indies at Sharjah in November. “The last six Test matches do not reflect the abilities of our team.”
Misbah was nominated to lead Pakistan’s Test team after their captain Salman Butt was convicted in a spot-fixing scandal during the tour of England in 2010. He has since captained them in 53 Tests and won 24, the most by any Pakistan captain. However, the 18 losses under him are also the most a Pakistan Test captain have had.
When asked to shed light on his career, Misbah said: “Cricket is like life. It can never be smooth. It is full of ups and downs. It gives you failures and successes. You cannot let your failures pull you down. You have to push yourself to get up and outperform others.
“It has been a good journey overall. I am satisfied. I have enjoyed my cricket.”
Pakistan nominated Sarfraz Ahmed, their limited-overs captain, to assist Misbah in Tests earlier this year. The wicketkeeper-batsman had been touted to replace Misbah and Cricingif understands that the PCB had been wanting to hand over the captaincy to Sarfraz in all three formats. “We should support him [Sarfraz] when he becomes the captain and refrain from creating any undue pressure on him. We should back our captain through thick and thin and I also plan to do the same after I retire from the game,” Misbah, who turns 43 in May, said.
Despite playing any Test at home since the attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009, Pakistan topped the ICC Test Rankings for a brief period in 2016 under him. Addressing to the journalists after being handed the prestigious ICC Test Championship Mace at the Qaddafi Stadium in Lahore last year, Misbah had expressed his desire to captain Pakistan at home. He had also hoped to play a Test series against India. “You do not get everything that you wish for in life,” Misbah said talking about his unfulfilled desires. “It was my dream to win the world cup in 2015, but it did not happen. The peak time of my career was being number one in Tests after the England series and bringing the Test mace to Pakistan. There were more tough times though. I had been out of the team. You try to do the best. Sometimes you are successful, the other times you fail. But it is all part and parcel of the game.”
Misbah, who led Faisalabad’s successful campaign in Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Grade-II tournament, will continue to play the domestic cricket. During the second edition of the PSL in February-March, he couldn’t help Islamabad United, the franchise he leads, to defend their title. “I have not yet decided what to do after my international retirement. I will continue to play domestic cricket for a while.”