By Bilal Memon
If attack is the best form of defence, then Misbah-ul-Haq surely doesn’t believe in it. He is a calm character whose presence on the field is barely felt. His patience makes him waits for a chance to pounce at the opposition. That, at times, backfires.
Misbah has a reputation of steering Pakistan out of many dire situations. His results, since taking over as the national captain, are something every Pakistani should be proud of.
The criticism remains that he misses a trick or two is there, as it is for most leaders. At times it’s frustrating to even imagine a character like Misbah lead a traditionally mercurial, yet excitingly talented, Pakistan line-up. The recently-concluded One Day International series, where Pakistan were exposed in every department of the game in each match, has given an opportunity to his critics to come out with all guns blazing.
Sacking Misbah is not the solution, even if one were to overlook the preceding series victories. This will compound problems since there was never a deputy, for which the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is to be blamed.
The board is happy to bring in Dav Whatmore as the coach to instill professionalism - a good move, keeping in mind the 2015 World Cup. But what about the leader? Surely, there has to be a deputy named to succeed the 37-year-old Misbah.
Forget the leadership crisis – there isn’t one just yet. Batting is and has been the main worry. Make them face a few quality pacers and you’ll see them offer a catch behind the stumps or dance around, ungracefully, at the crease. In Australia and New Zealand, where the next World Cup will be held, their problems will only mount. Facing two new balls from each end will cause additional issues.
While there have been moments of brilliance and some talented men with the willow are present, the package lacks spark, adaptability, consistency and in some cases maturity – Umar Akmal being a fine example. Why not experiment with separate teams for limited-over’s cricket and Tests with only a few names in common?
Fast-bowling, Pakistan’s biggest plus, was damaged the moment Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer were banned, but spinners more than made up for their absence. But in limited-overs cricket, the limit in the quota of over and defensive fields reduces the impact of spinners. Batsmen no longer fear charging down the track in pursuit of quick runs.
They say winning isn’t everything as defeat teaches you lot more. The 0-4 whitewash can be seen as a blessing in disguise if Pakistan are willing to learn from the setbacks.
(Bilal Memon is senior sub-editor on the sport desk of The Express Tribune. The above article is reproduced with permission from www. http://tribune.com.pk/)