Yesterday, I came across an article/news on the famous Cricket website: Cricinfo in which writer has tried to compare Misbah and Afridi and have been over-defensive for Misbah-ul-Haq and went far from reality.
I tried to reply to the writer, Mr George Dobell but unfortunately Cricinfo didn’t post my comment and amazingly it has posted quite immature and even same comment verbatim twice.
Anyways, here I would like to reply to that article:
He starts Misbah’s defense;
It is not hard to understand why Misbah might have been irritated. He assumed the captaincy of Pakistan in late 2010 with the team disgraced and defeated. Not only that, but he was denied some of the nation's best players due to their involvement in the spot-fixing controversy.”
i-) Me, you and everyone in the world know that Afridi took the charge of the team immediately after the spot-fixing crisis (and in England at the time when British media was almost asking for Pakistani Cricketers head) and he integrated the team so well to lead them to victory at Oval and Lords after so pessimistic time. Don’t forget it was the time when WADA conducted the dope-test of Umar Akmal, Afridi, Razzaq and Shoaib Akhtar and barred the home team and clearly Pakistani Cricket was all but over due to conspiracies by west. Had Afridi not rejected the Oval ODI’s spot-fixing claims sternly and haven’t had lead his team well, may be we would already have seen the last of Green shirts.
ii-) Misbah would never have been a captain till now if he had all the senior players in the team. Misbah only could groom due to youngsters around him and hence no politics. And don’t forget that he and Shoaib Malik were the two guys responsible for Younis Khan’s downfall by deliberately losing test matches in Sri Lanka, 2009. Hope you all remember that, if not, I will soon post another article about it.
Further he does extreme of exaggeration without any grounds:
“He responded better than most could have dreamed possible. Not only did Misbah restore the good reputation of Pakistan cricket on the pitch, he has done so off it, too.”
i-) How did Misbah restore the good reputation of Pakistan Cricket on the field? If you mark victories against Zimbabwe, Ireland, Bangladesh and weakened Sri Lanka as beyond dream achievements, then please try to sleep longer and dream higher. This is what any test country’s 2nd XI is supposed to do.
Compare it with Afridi who took the team to semi-final (and fell short in semi-final courtesy…..yeah you all aer spot on) which according to Mark Nicholas: “You exceeded the expectations of all of us”, became the first captain in 12 years to beat the Australian juggernaut (the same team which clean swept Pakistan across all formats just year ago)
ii-) Off the field. I would love to know what has Misbah done compared to the man who has been selected United Nations Ambassador for Anti-Drugs, convinced the likes of Daniel Vettori and Herschelle Gibbs to come and play Double-wicket tournament in Pakistan. Can you believe it, an individual convinced superstar to come to a country in which Sri Lankan team was all but massacred.
Let’s proceed further:
“He has led Pakistan to five Test series victories out of seven - the other two series were drawn - including the recent 3-0 whitewash of England, the No. 1-ranked Test team. On Thursday he led Pakistan to victory over the No.1-rated T20 team in world cricket and afterwards vented his frustration at the media - and the Pakistan media in particular - who seem to want Shahid Afridi restored as captain.”
i-) Let me write down these test series victories:
A. Beat NewZealand 2-0 Fair enough it’s good achievement.
B. Beat Zimbabwe 1-0 Can we count it even as a test match?
C. Beat Sri Lanka 2-0 This Sri Lankan side is by no mean a test competitive side. I remember Geoff Boycott said on eve of this series that I would fancy all of Sri Lankan bowlers which is very true.
D. Beat Bangladesh 2-0 Self-explanatory
E. Beat England 3-0 This is an achievement, but we should also confess that if we exclude only Saeed Ajmal, then it would have been a different ball game altogether.
ii-) what was Misbah’s role in that victory? He needs a TNT perhaps as a catalyst to speed up his innings. A man who played 10+ overs and still couple of boundaries. Man! Its T20. To be fair enough, barring Hafeez and Gul no one played good enough.
Then he quotes Misbah:
"I won't comment on any specific individuals, but you can hear it yourself when you listen to the reports in the media. I also say even after winning we shouldn't go overboard - we should base such discussions on facts. Appreciate the attributes in the team which are to be admired - even after winning, pinpoint specific mistakes - if a player isn't making centuries, or a bowler is not taking wickets, then discuss those points.
i-) When Afridi came back to side in Novemeber last year, it was Misbah who was more frightened from his come back than the Sri Lankans. Don’t believe? I have heard it in live interview from Misbah’s favourite coach, Mohsin Khan that “Misbah was earlier on worried at Afridi’s comeback, but not anymore” WTF??? Is it Misbah’s family heredity or Pakistan’s national team that he would be afraid of Afridi’s arrival and curious for Malik’s inclusion. Please explain this.
"What we shouldn't do is start speaking ill of individuals. As a team we lost the ODI series: don't blame one player or just the captain. The dramatic changes highlighted are unnecessary. It is these players that have won you six series. If we made mistakes and lost a series against a top team, then we should be backed. If the proposed changes highlighted by the media were implemented, we would have six captains and six different teams up to the World Cup in 2015.
i-) How funny it is. What those six series were? Let me recall you if you forgot them.
These are the ODI series Misbah has captained so far:
3-) Sri Lanka
6-) England (He forgot that he lost the 6th one)
Now tell me which of the above series is good enough to be written in your CV as a player or captain? Only Sri Lanka? Right. Who was the Man of the Series then? Yeah be realistic.
ii-) 2015’s world cup: Its good that Misbah himself started the talk of 2015’s world cup as teams have set an eye on it as well. Misbah cant even carry drinks in 2015 world cup and should voluntarily resign from ODIs, not only captaincy. Ricky Ponting’s example is in front of everyone.
Then Misbah completes at self-contradicting statement:
"We cannot improve if we continuously ask for captains and teams to be replaced after losing one series. You have to back your players at a certain level."
Can you believe it? The guy who didn’t hesitate for a moment to steal the captaincy after Afridi’s unfamous sacking as captain is now saying such a things. Come on Misbah. Atleast not you to say such a words. You were part of Younis downfall as I mentioned before.
Now I would like to know your decision. Please bring forward your feedback till the remaining half publish (within couple of days InshaAllah). Have to watch the T20 now ;)
(Contd. Remaining half in Part 2)
(Link of the discussed article: http://www.espncricinfo.com/pakistan-v-england-2012/content/current/story/555126.html)
Writer is a Computer Engineer from UET, Lahore and has been analyzing Cricket since 2005. He can be accessed via mail or FaceBook