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Charismatic captain: Another feather in Misbah’s cap
Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq made history on Friday, becoming the first Pakistani to play 50 matches as Test captain as he walked onto Hagley Oval ground in Christchurch for a toss against the Kiwis during the second day of the Test series against New Zealand. The 42-year-old was named Test captain after a spot fixing scandal in England in 2010. He famously blogged about being offered captaincy during a secret meeting in a clerk’s office at the Pakistan Cricket Board headquarters in Lahore in the aftermath of the scandal. Subsequently he captained the team against South Africa in 2011 and has become one of Pakistan’s most successful captains since, with 24 wins, 14 losses and 11 draws under his belt. Misbah started his reign six years ago on the back of the spot-fixing scandal crisis and banning of his predecessor Salman Butt. After a hard fought draw in his debut series as captain — two Tests versus South Africa in the UAE — he led Pakistan to series wins against New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh before the historic sweep of the then world number one Test team England in the UAE. After a lean period following the win against England, Misbah took the team to another run which started with a series win over Australia in the UAE followed by success in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the 2014-15 season. The high profile tour of England — earlier this year — was a success for the middle-order batsman who was named the man-of-the-series more for his inspiring leadership than batting. Before squaring the series with England, Pakistan defeated them 2-0 in the UAE while the West Indians also tasted a 2-1 series defeat last month.Misbah has remained a calming influence on the team and has made the most of his limitations as a batsman making vital contributions from his number five spot in the batting order.For six years he has kept the team together, his last challenge is to hold the fort in New Zealand and Australia, as exhibited in the Christchurch Test, Pakistan have one final battle and a tough one at that under Misbah, will there be a heroic exit in store or will Misbah fade away? We hope it is indeed heroic since he deserves a rousing send-off.