Targeting a top four in Tests by 2013: Misbah

Misbah-ul-Haq said the confidence gained on the Zimbabwe tour will help his team Getty Images

Karachi: Sep 29, 2011

Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq on Thursday said he has targeted a top four Test spot for his side with an eye on qualification for the inaugural World Test Championship in 2013.

The four top teams in the ICC (International Cricket Council) standings in mid-January 2013 will progress to the first World Test Championships scheduled to be played in England later that year.

“We can come in the top four to feature in the Test championship and that’s one of the aims in our next three important series,” said Misbah, appointed captain for all three formats of the game last month.

Misbah led Pakistan to a clean-sweep over Zimbabwe earlier this month, winning the one-off Test, all three one-days and both the Twenty20 internationals.

His team now plays Sri Lanka over three Tests, five one-days and a Twenty20, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next month because of security fears in Pakistan.

Pakistan currently lie sixth in the ICC Test rankings and need to win against fifth-placed Sri Lanka and their next two series – against world number one England and Bangladesh, who are ranked ninth.

They tour Bangladesh in December for a two-Test series and play England in three Tests, four one-day and three Twenty20 in UAE in January-February next year.

Misbah said the confidence gained on the Zimbabwe tour will help his team.

“We have done well in our two tough series before the Zimbabwe tour and did well against South Africa and New Zealand, so the confidence level is high and this morale will help us in future series,” said Misbah.

Misbah said using new bowlers on the Zimbabwe tour had paid-off providing the team with greater attacking depth and back-up in case of injury.

But he said outgoing coach Waqar Younis will be missed.

“As captain you develop an understanding with the coach and Waqar was very supportive to me and to the team, so we now have to rebuild that understanding with the new coach,” Misbah added.

Pakistan is searching for a new coach after Waqar left the post at the end of the Zimbabwe tour, citing health problems.

A three-member committee will meet in Karachi later Thursday to discuss around 40 applicants for the post from around the world, and will also talk with other prominent foreign coaches.

The process to agree a final candidate will take about a month and Pakistan is likely to play the Sri Lanka series under a temporary coach. (AFP)