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Misbah-ul-Haq becomes the oldest captain for Pakistan at 40

Misbah-ul-Haq is the fourth Asian player to captain his side at the age of 40 © AFP

When Pakistan began the first test against Sri Lanka at Galle, skipper Misbah-ul-Haq became the first player to captain Pakistan at age of more than 40 in Test Cricket. Bharath Seervi lists the captains who played at an age of 40 and above and related statistics.

When Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq led his team on the first day of the Galle Test against Sri Lanka, he was aged 40 years and 70 days. This was also the first Test that he appeared in after crossing that age-mark. He thus became the first ever Pakistan captain to lead the Test side at age of 40 and above. He previously held the record of being the oldest Test captain for Pakistan when he led his side against Zimbabwe at Harare in September 2013. He surpassed Imran Khan’s record, who last captained Pakistan at age of 39 years and 38 days in 1992.

Misbah-ul-Haq became only the fourth Asian skipper to achieve the feat and the 22nd overall. The last player to do so was Graham Gooch for England back in 1993 while the feat was first achieved by WG Grace for England in 1888. This trend has become a rare commodity off late as Misbah is one of the two players to have followed it in the last three decades or so.

Among the 22 players who have captained beyond 40 years of age, nine played before the World War II. And six others achieved it before 1960. Hence, captaining a test team after age of 40 years is something special. Below is a table listing all the captains who lead their side after age of 40.

Captains from each Test team who lead their side after age of 40

Team Captain Period Matches Won Lost Drawn % Won
  Australia JM Blackham  1894-1894 1 0 1 0 00.00
SE Gregory  1912-1912 6 2 1 3 33.33
WW Armstrong  1920-1921 10 8 0 2 80.00
W Bardsley  1926-1926 2 0 0 2 00.00
VY Richardson  1935-1936 5 4 0 1 80.00
RB Simpson  1977-1978 10 4 5 1 40.00



WG Grace  1888-1899 13 8 3 2 61.54
CB Fry  1912-1912 6 4 0 2 66.67
JWHT Douglas  1924-1924 1 0 0 1 00.00
WR Hammond  1946-1947 8 1 2 5 12.50
GOB Allen  1948-1948 3 0 2 1 00.00
FR Brown  1950-1951 11 5 4 2 45.45
TW Graveney  1968-1968 1 0 0 1 00.00
R Illingworth  1972-1973 11 4 4 3 36.36
GA Gooch 1993-1993 1 0 1 0 00.00
India L Amarnath  1952-1952 5 2 1 2 40.00
MH Mankad  1959-1959 1 0 1 0 00.00
Pakistan Misbah-ul-Haq  2014- 1 - - - -
South Africa AD Nourse  1951-1951 5 1 3 1 20.00
Sri Lanka DS de Silva  1983-1983 2 0 2 0 00.00
West Indies N Betancourt  1930-1930 1 0 1 0 00.00
CH Lloyd  1984-1985 5 3 1 1 60.00

The period denotes the time period in which the player captained the team after age of 40.

Among the top 8 Test teams, each team had at least one captain to lead them at an age of more than 40 years except New Zealand. The oldest Test captain for New Zealand has been John Reid, who was 37 years and 35 days old when he last led the Kiwi team in 1965.
Talking about the team’s performance under the captaincy of a player who was above 40 years of age, most of the better results producing captains were in the time period before the World War II. Warwick Armstrong (80%), Vic Richardson (80%), CB Fry (66.67%) and WG Grace (61.54%) were all before the Second World War. Only other captain with a win % of more than 50 % is Clive Lloyd (60%) in 1984-1985.

WG Grace has captained most number of Test matches after age of 40. He captained in 13 of them. Among the 13, his last Test as captain was at age of above 50 in 1899. He is so far the only captain to lead a side at age of more than 50. The other captains with 10+ matches are Freddie Brown and Ray Illingworth in 11 matches for England and Warwick Armstrong and Bop Simpson in 10 matches for Australia.
The list is highly dominated by captains from Australia and England. The captains from other teams in the list are Lala Amarnath and Vinoo Mankad from India, Dudley Nourse from South Africa, Somachandra De Silva from Sri Lanka and Nelson Betancourt and Clive Lloyd from West Indies.

Misbah-ul-Haq as Captain

Pakistan’s team is being led by Misbah-ul-Haq since the South Africa Test series in UAE in November 2010. Misbah has captained in all the matches since then except one. Under Misbah’s captaincy Pakistan has played 27 Test matches in which they won 12, lost 7 and drew 8. The 28th Test is ongoing. It is been almost four years since Pakistan side is playing under Misbah’s leadership.
From November 12, 2006 to November 11, 2010 (four years before Misbah was given the captaincy) Pakistan played 27 Tests in which they won just five and lost 14 while 8 were drawn. This clearly shows the effect of Misbah’s leadership.

Pakistan – Before and Since Misbah as Captain

Period Matches Won Lost Drawn % Won % Lost
12/11/2006 to 11/11/2010 27 5 14 8 18.52 51.85
12/11/2010 till date # 27 12 7 8 44.44 25.93

# It includes only the matches under Misbah. One match was captained by Mohammad Hafeez in Misbah’s absence in the Galle Test in 2012.

In the four years prior to Misbah’s captaincy, Pakistan had played with six captains. The win percentage has increased about two and half times and the losing percentage have decreased by half in Misbah’s tenure.

One of the major reasons for Pakistan’s rebuilding has also been Misbah’s batting performance since he became the captain. The 27 matches in which Misbah has captained in, he averages 61.38% and is overall career average is 48.49 in 47 matches. His average before captaincy was a mere 33.60. The table below shows his career numbers as captain and as non-captain.

Captain/Non-Captain Period Matches Innings Runs Average S/Rate 100s 50s Ducks Best
Since Captaincy 2010- 28 48 2241 60.56 43.32 3 21 1 135
Before Captaincy 2001-2010 19 33 1008 33.6 38.76 2 4 4 161*
Overall Career 2001- 47 81 3249 48.49 41.79 5 25 5 161*

There may not be much time left for Misbah in Cricket, but the Pakistan team can make use of the maximum services provided by him from his captaincy as well as batting as much as possible.

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