What’s not to like about Misbah-ul-Haq? Yeah, sure, opinions may be divided, especially in this digital world that we now live in, but I have to admit, I’m a massive fan of the man, Pakistan’s most successful Test captain. And another confession, I’m an Indian and not Hispanic, if my name happened to confuse you.
Now, since that is out of the way, I have to say, I like Misbah not just for his cricketing ability but also his human nature. There are not many sportspeople in the world who are not only great athletes but also great human beings. But Misbah ticks all the boxes there is and some more.
He epitomises the perfect man and is a fantastic ambassador of the game, so much so that he and Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara are cut from the same cloth.
Misbah could even go on to become the Prime Minister some day. In fact, he now holds the second most important job in Pakistan, that of the head coach and chief selector.
His appointment for the dual role is perhaps the right reward for a man who pulled Pakistan cricket out of an abyss and served the country with distinction.
And it is a landmark decision, a pioneering one at that, as Pakistan cricket becomes the first to have a football-styled system in play here. Football coaches all around the world manage the teams and have the final say in selection. So, too would Misbah.
It is an unprecedented move, especially coming from a subcontinental team, and while the jury is still out, it may have paved the way for other teams to at least ponder about it.
For now though, it must be said, Misbah’s ascension is the right decision. There is no one better to do the job than Misbah. He is dignified, has the stature and has the respect in cricketing circles.
There may be a few discerning voices, but that’s expected as it isn’t going to be a bed of roses. In fact, Misbah thrives when thrown into the deep end. And his career is a prime example. Misbah was a little late to the party, having started playing for Pakistan when he was 27.
Pakistan found itself in a big mess following the spot-fixing scandal at Lord’s in 2010 and Misbah was handed the captaincy. And like a father nursing a baby back to health, Misbah breathed life back to Pakistan cricket and moulded a team that went on to hold the No.1 Test ranking in the world.
What made it even more special was Pakistan led a nomadic existence during that time, playing all of their cricket in the UAE, their ‘home’ away from home.
One can be sure Misbah will lead by example in both the roles. Even at the other side of 40, Misbah is still the fittest and can pass any fitness test. And while it may be taking it a bit too far, he could still command a place in the current team.
Misbah will have an able ally in Waqar Younis, the bowling coach, and maybe having his good friend Younis Khan would have been the icing on the cake, one cannot have everything.
Misbah may lack the coaching experience but analytical coaching will always be a distant second to inspiration.