Misbah-ul-Haq gets backing from PCB interim chief Najam Sethi

Misbah-ul-Haq was criticised after Pakistan lost the second Test against Zimbabwe © AFP

Lahore: Sep 18, 2013

Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) interim chief Najam Sethi on Tuesday backed Test and one-day captain Misbah-ul-Haq after former stars demanded his sacking in the wake of the embarrassing Test defeat against Zimbabwe.

Pakistan were beaten by 24 runs in the second Test in Harare last week — their first loss at the hands of the cricketing minnows for 15 years — which left the two-match series tied 1-1.

The visitors also lost a one-dayer but went on to win the three-match series 2-1.

The losses prompted calls from former players to replace Misbah, 39, often faulted for his defensive approach and for his age.

But the Sethi defended the captain.

“I am satisfied with Misbah’s captaincy,” Sethi told reporters. “There has been no decision to change the team’s captain.”

Sethi also played down the outcome of the tour.

“If results are not up to the expectations then no earthquake has come,” said Sethi, who was appointed interim chairman in July.

His nomination came two months after Islamabad’s High Court suspended Zaka Ashraf following complaints about his election as PCB chairman.

The court however told Sethi not to make major decisions until a fresh PCB election in October this year, a restriction which meant he could not make team changes.

“I have no powers and I wish the court gives a judgment on this,” said Sethi, referring to the PCB’s pending appeal against the court ruling.

Sethi also said he was ready to revive full cricketing ties with arch-rival India, which have been largely stalled since the attacks on Mumbai in 2008.

Pakistan played a limited-overs series in India in December-January. But prospects for stronger cricketing ties hinge on the political relationship, which is strained after deadly clashes in the disputed Kashmir region.

“We wish to revive ties and for that I am ready to go to India and the ties will help us financially and politically,” Sethi said.

“Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has given me a mandate to work for the revival of cricket between the two countries and he himself wants the countries to play each other.”