In defence of Misbah-ul-Haq

Misbah-ul-Haq is a limited batsman.

This isn’t a criticism (and you’ll find plenty of critics today), just fact. He has a limited range of orthodox scoring shots, he lacks the hitting power of a Shahid Afridi (although he’s not as weak as Younus Khan), and worst of all, he lacks the dexterity of a Javed Miandad in rotating the strike early in his innings.

But where he stands out – and this is crucial in a team that is traditionally poor in this area – is his mental strength, his calmness, his ability to keep fighting till the end, and through that strength, the flickers of hope he gives to his teammates (and the viewers) as long as he is at the crease.

Today’s semi-final against India was lost in a number of small battles. The dropped catches, the poor ground fielding that conceded an extra 15 runs, the poor shot selection, lack of close fielders for new batsmen, not taking the PowerPlay earlier when Umar Akmal was in full (albeit very brief) flow, Umar Gul’s bowling.

But what you can’t fault is players keeping the fight going, and in that respect Misbah-ul-Haq (dropped catch, slow start et al) is blameless. When more talented batsmen, more experienced batsmen, were losing their heads and getting themselves out, he kept his nerves and some hope alive. When attacking batsmen got out to defensive prods and defensive batsmen got out to mistimed wild swings, he held down one end, playing to his strengths and refusing to bow to the pressure.

You might choose to remember Misbah as the man who lost the 2007 Twenty20 Final. That would be criminally harsh on a player who, again, in 2007 as he did today in Mohali, kept Pakistan in the hunt till the very end. Yes, today the match was lost with 5-6 overs still left to play, but if every batsman in the team did the things Misbah does – i.e. play to his strengths, minimise his weaknesses, keep a cool head and protect his wicket at all costs – hell, if only one other of the top 8 batsmen had done the same thing, Pakistan would have come a lot closer.

Misbah the batsman is probably not good enough to be in the current Pakistan side even with their lack of batting resources. But Misbah the player, Misbah the man is a cut above the rest. He keeps fighting when others give up. He keeps his head when others lose theirs. Misbah is this team’s warrior of light, and it’s a pity the other old heads could not show the same restraint and application needed at such a crucial stage.

All things considered, Pakistan did quite well in the 2011 World Cup. We always expect our team to win going into any game, and there’s plenty of disappointment in how things turned out today, but the players deserve a warm welcome home. It’s time we stopped hating on our weaknesses, and started respecting our strengths. It’s time to stay calm and keep the fight to improve going every day.

It’s time for us to learn from Misbah-ul-Haq.

Filed under: Opinion

Comments (11)

  1. Saba.K says:

    He was only developing pressure on other batsmen when they were playing and hitting, he was not striking even when we were in good position and Umer Akmal was on strike. i am not saying that he is not a player of good temperament, he is. But today Pak lost because of many reasons and MISBAH was on top among these reasons. And i will warmly wellcome my team.

  2. Ahmed Umair says:

    simply put, Misbah should have been handed the responsibility of captaincy and they should have let him take care of his squad a few years prior to the World Cup.

    He did manage to stay clear of some of the controversies going around him and he also comes out to be a very level-headed guy. That would probably mean a level-headed captain.

  3. RTX says:

    Misbah was booked together with Umer Gul, Abdul Razak and Younis Khan. Simple.

  4. Ak Rehman says:

    Well, if a guy can make you win a game there is no need for the fighting spirit. You need fighting spirit to finish the game , not just to keep you hope. Unfortunately not a single time he get us win the match. Yesterdays inning was one of the mysterious innings which include 47 dot balls not justify any of your logic. I am trying to get of it but still can’t understand why he couldn’t just rotate the strike instead knocking the ball on pitch like a test match specially when the asking RR is around 9.

  5. Mr niazi says:

    Today india won the final. At one moment they were 33 for 2 but they didnt score slowly like lazy misbah so they won. This is reality of ODI cricket that make runs quickly according to required rate.
    And not just stay on wicket like misbah and waste the bundle of overs. Honest to God he didnt try to make the runs on loose delivries. He cant run between wicket. He cant hit the boundries. He didnt play for pakistan. He played for himself. Fucken lazy selfish….

  6. sana says:

    misbah lacks hitting power? umm, did you miss the end of that innings when he was hitting sixes for fun? please.

  7. Mr niazi says:

    He hit just one six. That was by chance. And look what he did in t20 against w.indies. He is fucken looser. He needs to stay at home with younis and razaq. He never win a match for us. And if some people say that he has ability to stay at wicket but why he doesnt stay in test match
    Look his evredge fucken less than 35
    And u know guys in ODI match bowlers delibratly dont`get him out
    Because he helps the fielding side to win easily
    Fucken lazy bullshit misbah

  8. Mr niazi says:

    And guys who believe that misbah can stay at wicket they have chance to see him against w.indies
    And remember he will do the bullshit job in test match as well
    Lets see him what he does in test match
    But I would say one thing that misbah is waste of time

  9. Nadeem says:

    Mr, Niazi
    you need to update your database about Misbah. He averages 43 in ODIs & 42 in Test Matches. as far as winning matches for pakistan is concerned, here are a few examples

    1. 93 * vs NZ in recent biletral series
    2. 83 * vs SL in WC
    3. 79* vs India in UAE in 2008 when he was captaining pakistan (in place of shoaib malik)chasing a target of over 300.
    4. 66* vs Aus in T20 WC semifinal
    5. and i hope you wouldn’t forget two back to back test hundreds in india against India which saved pakistan the series.

  10. SHOUKAT says:

    I LOVE ALL PAKISTAN BUT MISBAH UL HAQ IS MY BEST PLAYER

  11. sorab says:

    i luv misbah u people r blaming him for defeat shame 2 all u pakis just thinkkkkkkkkkk agr misbah ajmal ko batting kerne deta ajmal was last wkt or wo out hota tou pakistan 100 90 runs se harta misbah saved pakistan frm bad defeat thanx to him but dis thing will only understood by sensible mature people love misbah much better than afridi afridi comes i change the channel for 1 second when i again open the channel afridi is not there he is out

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