Najam Sethi backs Misbah-ul-Haq to lead Pakistan till ICC World Cup 2015

Misbah-ul-Haq’s leadership had come under question after Pakistan’s 1-4 loss against South Africa in the ODI series in UAE © AFP

Karachi: Nov 21, 2013

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Najam Sethi on Thursday reposed his full faith in Misbah-ul-Haq and backed the under-fire skipper to continue to lead the side till the 2015 World Cup.

While replying to his criticism in a newspaper report over grilling Misbah on a television chat show, Sethi said the One-Day International (ODI) and Test skipper “enjoys his full confidence”.

“PCB Chairman Najam Sethi reiterates that Misbah enjoys his full confidence and should continue to remain captain until at least the World Cup in 2015” the board said in a statement in the ‘Dawn’ newspaper on Thursday.

Pakistan were thrashed 1-4 by South Africa in the ODIs at United Arab Emirates (UAE) earlier in the month, raising doubts over his future as the skipper.

After that defeat, Sethi had interviewed Misbah on his political chat show about general troubles with the Pakistan batting, his own approach and the influence it has had on younger batsmen, preferences for specific combinations and his inability to win games.

The PCB, in its rejoinder to the newspaper, defended Sethi’s decision to invite Misbah on the show and said, “Since Misbah was under attack from various quarters the PCB chairman and Misbah jointly decided to let Misbah confront his critics views in a controlled and non-antagonistic environment because they both felt that Misbah had solid answers to give in the public interest.”

“Under the circumstances, Misbah was asked all the hard questions raised by his critics, and was allowed to answer freely without any follow up questions on the same issue.”

“The discussion was clearly aimed at strengthening Misbah rather than eroding him especially since the PCB chairman had earlier said in a public statement that Misbah would remain captain until atleast the World Cup in 2015,” the statement said.

The statement also insisted that the show had been well received by the public in Misbah’s defence and proved that he was the best man for the job on hand.

“The final statement of the chairman should end all speculations in this matter in the larger interest of the game,” it added.