Step down, keep respect

March 5, 2017

Misbah-ul-Haq should retire now

Step down, keep respect

Misbah-ul-Haq should retire now that he has failed to score a half century in his last nine innings. He should choose to step down before the West Indies tour. Misbah should be content with what he has achieved since October 2010 when he was brought back into the team and given the charge of the team.

He had played only 19 Tests then and had scored only two hundreds. Now he has played 72 -- as many as 53 as captain, the highest for any Pakistani skipper -- and has 10 centuries.

When he was not picked for the tour to England in 2010 he had said he felt like burning his cricket equipment in anger. He couldn’t have thought in his wildest dream that he was going to captain the Pakistani side and that too for such a long period. He has been as fortunate in this second phase of his career as he was unlucky in the first when he could not get many chances because of a packed middle order.

Not only did he captain Pakistan in Tests, he also led them in 87 ODIs -- the third joint highest with Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Misbah should not choose the path that many of our distinguished players did who failed to realise that their time was up and as a consequence suffered the ignominy of being dropped.

He has achieved the distinction of remaining the captain of the Pakistani team for as many as six years and a half. No one else managed this. Not Imran, not Miandad, not Wasim, not Kardar. He is lucky to have been trusted for the top job for so long. In 1990s and early 2000s, the captain used to be replaced after every two series. That was why someone jestingly said at that time that a Pakistan captain had a team of captains to lead -- such a difficult task.

Saleem Malik, Rameez Raja, Amir Sohail, Saeed Anwar, Moin Khan, Rashid Latif, Waqar Younis would come in as captain and after a series or two would not only lose captaincy but also their place in the playing XI.

Ramiz captained Pakistan for just five Tests, Saeed Anwar seven, Amir Sohail six, Rashid Latif six, Moin Khan 13, Saleem Malik 12 and Waqar Younis 17.

And it is wrong to say that his departure will leave a void very difficult to fill. The impression is wrong. There are a few solid middle order batsmen who can replace him. Fawad Alam is one of them. He is a very dependable middle order batsman. His temperament is most suited to Test cricket.

Fawad was ousted from the team after only three Tests in 2009 although he scored 168 in his first Test and has had a great first class record. He averages more than 56 runs in first class cricket.

Then there is Asif Zakir who has been on the fringes for a long time. He scored 853 runs at an average of more than 85 with four hundreds and two fifties. It is time to give him a chance to prove his mettle.

Step down, keep respect