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Misbah bids farewell to Test cricket
Captain of Pakistan’s Test team, Misbah-ul-Haq, announced his retirement from international cricket today.
The West Indies Test series scheduled for this month will be his last, Misbah confirmed. The first Test of the three-match series will begin on April 21.
Misbah, who was addressing a press conference in Lahore, said it was a “personal decision” to retire and that it would be “wrong” to attribute it to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
“I was under no pressure from anyone,” he added.
Reminiscing about his career, the skipper said that he saw some really difficult times.
“I was out of the team for a while. There were bad performances as well,” he recalled.
When asked about ‘unfulfilled aspirations’, Misbah said he had really wanted the Pakistan team to win the 2011 and 2015 World Cup tournaments.
“But that didn’t happen, and [the wish] remained a wish,” the outgoing Test captain, who retired from one-day cricket after the 2015 World Cup, said.
Misbah said he did not have any specific post-retirement plans. “For now, I will continue playing cricket,” he added.
PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan also praised the outgoing captain for the command he had over cricket, particularly the way he worked with his teammates, and communicated with field umpires and referees.
“Just recently, I received letters from Australia’s cricket board saying no matter whether your team wins or loses, they are always on your best behaviour,” the chairman said, adding Misbah was a commendable “ambassador of Pakistan” abroad and that he set a great example for the men in green to follow.
The 42-year-old was named Test captain after a spot-fixing scandal crippled the Pakistan side touring England in 2010.
He famously blogged about being offered the captaincy during a secret meeting in a clerk’s office at the PCB headquarters in Lahore in the aftermath of the scandal.
Subsequently, he led 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.
Under Misbah’s leadership, Pakistan also achieved the number-one Test ranking for the first time since the current rankings system was introduced in 2003.
Last year, he became the oldest Test centurion in 82 years to reach three figures at the ‘home of cricket’ — the Lord’s Cricket Ground — during a four-Test series against England. The skipper then celebrated the achievement in style.
Misbah also bested a 49-year-old Pakistan record at Lord’s by improving upon the 76 made by Asif Iqbal in his maiden Test knock at the venue while batting at No 9 in 1967.
With 10 centuries and 36 half-centuries under his belt, Misbah has overtaken current chairman of selectors Inzamam-ul-Haq’s seven, as well as Imran Khan and Javed Miandad’s records — each of whom have five apiece.
Remarkably, no one in the long history of Test match cricket has managed more centuries than Misbah beyond the age of 40.
In 2016, Misbah also became the first Pakistani to play 50 matches as Test captain in a Test series against New Zealand.