By David Green
Responsibility - some thrive in it while others crumble under its weight.
Being made captain of an international cricket side is certainly a responsible position. Being made captain of Pakistan in the wake of the Lord’s spot-fixing scandal that had consumed the previous skipper, Salman Butt, had even greater responsibility attached to it. Such was the burden placed on Misbah-ul-Haq’s shoulders.
Pakistan could easily have imploded. But it didn’t and Misbah must take a lot of credit for that.
At the Reverse Sweep, we find it absurd that Misbah attracts so much criticism from Pakistan cricket followers on blogs and Twitter.
His captaincy may be defensive and overcautious at times, but Misbah has proved to be the steady pair of hands that the good ship Pakistan needed to prevent it from sinking to the bottom of the sea.
Since taking over the captaincy, Pakistan have drawn against South Africa, won in New Zealand and now look like securing a drawn series in the Caribbean.
When you consider that this has been achieved without the disgraced Lord’s trio and for the most part their two premier batsmen in Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf, it is a pretty impressive record.
Misbah’s batting has been like his captaincy: cautious, steady and unspectacular; yet remarkably effective and consistent. His scores have been as follows: 9, 76*, 77, 58*, 62, 99, 70*, 2, 52, 25 and 102*. 632 runs at an average of 90 and a fairly sedate strike rate of 42.
As we said at the start, some thrive on responsibility. Thankfully for Pakistan, Misbah-ul-Haq is one of those people.
(David Green is the brain behind the irreverent The Reverse Sweep blog and also writes for a number of cricket publications and sites such as World Cricket Watch. You can follow him on Twitter also @TheReverseSweep. David was a decent schoolboy and club cricketer (and scored his maiden 100 the same week that Sachin Tendulkar scored his first Test ton) but not good enough to fulfil his childhood dream of emulating Douglas Jardine by winning the Ashes in Australia and annoying the locals into the bargain. He now lives with his wife and two young children in the South of France and will one day write the definitive biography of Hedley Verity)