Sports

Misbah and his twisted world

Written by Omair Alavi

Omair Alavi|Sports|November 22, 2020

Pakistan’s head coach either needs to go or to do his job professionally. Otherwise, it will take the national team many years to recover from his horrible decisions

The distance from Misbah-ul-Haq The Savior to Misbah-ul-Haq The Destroyer was exactly the same as it was between ‘Tuk-Tuk’ Misbah to ‘Six-Hit’ Misbah.

The former captain, who led the side to the most number of victories in Tests, must realise that many still haven’t gotten over his illogical shot in the final of the first World T20 in 2007, and had there been another person in his place, he would have tried to rectify that damage through sane decisions in his post-retirement innings.

But that’s not the way Misbah operates; as chief selector and head coach, he came, he coached and he destroyed Pakistan cricket with his logical-to-his-own-mind thinking. Talented individuals are out of favor, out-of-form players are appointed captain and those doing well at the domestic circuit are nowhere in Misbah’s twisted world. Let’s see who has suffered the most during his tenure, and how it will dent Pakistan cricket in the coming years!

Changing captains like the 1990s!

In the 1990s, Pakistan had more captains than players in the final XI, as every other person was either a former skipper or the current one. It destroyed Pakistan cricket immensely as most of the controversies from match-fixing to taking drugs began in that era. Thankfully, with first Inzamam-ul-Haq and later Misbah, Pakistan saw a stable captaincy period that was once again destroyed by the latter, when he became the coach. The first thing he did after being appointed last year was removing the ICC Champions Trophy-winning captain Sarfraz Ahmed for no reason from all formats of the game, and reinstating the tried-and-failed Azhar Ali in Tests. Within a year, he handed the baton of all formats to Babar Azam despite knowing that he is the only batsman who can score runs for Pakistan anywhere, anytime. Giving him the extra responsibility might hurt his batting in general, and Pakistan in particular.

Is Sami Aslam doing the right thing?

What will a person who has all the ingredients of a quality batsman do if the newly-appointed Chief Selector picks losers over him? Start thinking of trying his luck like Sami Aslam is thinking at the moment. It must have been a traumatic experience for him to be not selected and Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad were given preference just to show that who’s the boss. Pakistan lost the matches these two legends played and Sarfraz Ahmed lost his captaincy; the only winner was Chief Selector Misbah who asserted his authority with such stupid decisions. It would have been better for Pakistan cricket had someone intervened and talked some sense into him, but since he was the Head Coach, the Chief Selector as well as the Batting Coach at that time, it was as good as over for star domestic performers Sami Aslam, Tabish Khan, and Zahid Mehmood, to name a few.

Accepted by coach, rejected by franchise

Last week, Karachi Kings won the Pakistan Super League for the first time in five years but that was because they did exactly the opposite of what Misbah does when it comes to the national side. They refused to hand over the captaincy to Babar Azam and continued with Imad Wasim, and that helped both the players as the former had no job but to score runs and the latter had no extra pressure of scoring the runs, taking wickets, and leading from the front. Similarly, they benched Misbah’s favourite glovesman Mohammad Rizwan because a) a wicket-keeper must take the team along and b) he isn’t a batsman suited to the T20 format.

We all saw how Sarfraz Ahmed in his last T20I match for Pakistan advised captain Babar Azam and helped the side make a comeback and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in and against England. That’s why a sensible wicketkeeper is pivotal to the team’s success. Otherwise, even Imam-ul-Haq can wear gloves and stand behind the wickets, and take a good catch once in a while!

Playing favourites has never helped Pakistan

Recently on a TV show, former captain Rashid Latif rightly said that Azhar Ali wasn’t hounded for his bad form but Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed were. Asad Shafiq was dropped more for political reasons than for his poor form. He has a point because Fawad Alam would not be selected for eleven years despite scoring a century on Test debut but Haris Sohail would be an automatic choice despite his injuries every now and then. Misbah claims to have selected the team after watching the National T20 but that must have been selected viewing because a lacklustre Faheem Ashraf got selected and a much superior and in-form Aamir Yamin wasn’t. And why is Iftikhar Ahmed still in the squad after his many failures and just one successful innings? Because the Coach believes he is a 3D player when others feel that he is too Dumb, too Dull, and too Dim (also 3D) for international duty. Misbah either needs to go or to do his job professionally. Otherwise, it will take Pakistan many years to recover from his horrible decisions.

About the author

Omair Alavi