Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pakistan Due to Succeed at Champions Trophy Under Misbah

Misbah Factor (Mr Dependable) – Highly rated by those who have worked with him and know him well in terms of being an articulate and smart man in the game, well respected by team members and coaching staff, statistically high achieving. Those in the cricketing circles such as fellow players or top class journalists think highly of him and his man management credentials are most impressive. We have already seen him win tournament silverware as captain, though not in an ICC event. One of Pakistan’s finest and most stable in the captaincy department.

Misbah was also vice captain of the 2009 ICC World T20 winning side and 2011 World Cup semi final campaign so has the experience in leadership/seniority in positions at ICC events somewhat.  At one stage Misbah’s international captaincy record read only 2 defeats in 35 internationals on 10th February 2012 after the conclusion of the first ever official one day international between Pakistan and Afghanistan in Sharjah.

For a side that are known to struggle with stability, continuity, specialism and intellect in national captains since Imran, Misbah is as good as they come by Pakistani standards.  Finally, the Greens have an honest, educated, trouble free, diplomatically spoken, consistently performing, dependable, assuring, respected, naturally identified, calm, unflustered, mentally tough, disciplined leader who needs to be encouraged to stay in the job as the team could really do with making best use of his unique services.

Without exaggerating, he is a rare species in terms of leadership, personality and background in what has been a tainted culture of scandal. I wanted him leading for the event, but wasn't 100% sure he would have been due to the potential incompetence of the board.

However, brains have prevailed. It was only fitting that Pakistan’s most influential leader in handling adversity and changing the dynamics of the side since Imran gets the chance to join him as a 39 year old ODI ICC tournament winning skipper. Who could put it beyond him with his determined self belief to surprise the lot and win over his critics who have been calling for his head for over 2 and a half years? There are certain leaders who were born to lead, Misbah has always been one regarded as a natural in the art. 

Misbah rises to the occasion in world tournaments as a batter as the below evidence illustrates. The team will need him to perform individually as the batting relies and depends so heavily on him to create a sense of calming influence, stabilising presence and perspective minded wisdom out in the middle.

Tri series 2002 – half century in a final vs. Australia
2007 ICC World T20 – Pakistan’s leading run getter in the competition
2008 Kitply tri series – Quick fire cameo at the death in the final 
2008 Asia Cup – 2 half centuries in the tournament
2009 World T20 – Vice Captain and senior man in the camp
2010 World T20 – Part of the side in their road to the semi final
2011 World Cup - Pakistan’s leading run getter in the competition
2012 Asia Cup – averaged the best part of 50 and winning captain 

The captain is very handy to have in low scoring games and when chasing modest targets, is renowned for closing out games and is tailor made for operating in a crisis. He also, knows how to reassess a total with the conditions in mind accordingly and anchor the innings by occupying the crease for the bulk of the overs, working his way to a score and preserving wickets.

Misbah has won several titles in one day cricket including:

2005 Tri series win as Pakistan A Captain in Sri Lanka
2006 National One Day Cup Winner as Faisalabad Captain
2010 national domestic One Day Cup as Captain
2012 Asia Cup as senior team full time Captain
2013 Faysal Bank Super  8 T20 Winner as Wolves Captain
2013 Presidents Trophy One Day Cup Winner as Sui Gas Captain 
He knows the secrets of the trade and how to get hands on silverware
However, he would not have captained in such a high profile event before
Given his past success, it would have been unfitting if he didn’t get to lead in one      

He keeps the side together as a unified outfit, avoid off field troubles from emerging, speaks professionally and comes across as a thorough professional in the field who is a highly suitable ambassador for both game and country. He has a strong temperament and is mentally a tough nut which often forms a  capable leader of men. On the field tactically, his ability to read conditions, his ability to extract the best out of his troops, his pre-match planning, his eye for talent such as spotting Ajmal and giving chances to Asad Shafiq and Junaid Khan in the test side and his intense desire to pride the team with qualities of control, cunningness and consistency stand out. Individually, he trains hard, is known to be responsible, performs well which always helps, possesses deep game awareness, ensures he keeps his fitness in shape which aids him in setting the example both through form, game plans and work ethic. For as long as he remains in the job, the national cricket side is in safe company.   

He has been the central figure who has been there throughout in the side’s road to redemption since 2010, let it be as vice captain or captain of the one day side and captain of the test side with a brief stint as T20 captain too.

The team certainly play a disciplined, relentless, patient, focussed brand of play under him with moments of typical green shirts magic in between. Even after he packs his bags, you be sure he will still be involved in the game in one way or another and already has done punditry for Ten Sports alongside Danny Morrison and Waqar Younis at the 2012 ICC World T20 where he impressed many.

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