Pakistan’s under-fire Test skipper Misbah-ul-Haq has said that he will use the Pakistan Super League (PSL) as a platform to reassess his hunger and desire for batting and that he will address the retirement talks within the next month.
“The idea is to assess myself how badly I want to play cricket,” Misbah told ESPNcricinfo. “I think in this one month I will make my decision to quit or at least give a certain date. I could easily have quit after England series in UAE [in November 2015] but that wasn’t the right way.”
Misbah, who has already led Pakistan to most wins (24) in Test, will lead the defending champions – Islamabad United – in the second edition of the PSL in UAE.
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The 42-year-old has also led Pakistan to a number one rank in the ICC Test rankings, but his recent captaincy record of six consecutive losses in a row and lean form with the bat of late has put a big question mark over his performance and durability as a captain of the Pakistan side.
“You sometimes don’t see your own achievements and personal gains,” he said. “You also have to think about the team you have built, you have to see where it stands at a certain stage. Otherwise it was easy for me to retire after taking Pakistan to number one. I don’t really think about my personal gains and I knew I had more to lose from Australia and New Zealand, but I think that wasn’t a right way to think about. I had to stand there and give youngsters a message that you have to face the music in tough situations, face the challenge.
“That was my thinking behind and I am sure [critics] will come up with another narrative to disagree with me. No matter that you lose, but accept the challenge. Don’t run off. And at least give them [youngsters] the encouragement, stand behind them.”
Misbah’s batting approach and captaincy style have drawn criticism from the former players in past too, but it escalated after his recent run of low scores against New Zealand and Australia, where he failed to contribute with the bat and continue his booming form in the elite format of the game.
“In the middle order where I bat, it is important for me to bring stability whatever the situation,” he said. “If we are four down then being an experienced batsman I should go and anchor partnerships and try to rebuild. The idea always is to take the team to a respectable total on which our bowlers can give a fight.
“But I feel angry when former players who have played the game at highest level, whose understanding about the game is even better than mine, still target my batting.”
“It’s very important to think about how badly you want to play cricket and what your priorities are for cricket. If you are 19 or 20 and you are not doing enough on fitness, your priorities are not right, you are not performing then you should leave. In fact you should be kicked out. It’s very simple.
“Someone over 35 or 40, if he is physically fit, he can bring much benefit to the team because at this age you are mentally very strong, you have all the experience, temperament and exposure. So it’s all about what your priorities are, what your mindset and passion for the game is.”
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