Careful Misbah, belligerent Afridi – Pakistan cricket team paradoxy

Bilal Hussain
By Bilal Hussain February 4, 2015 13:29

Careful Misbah, belligerent Afridi – Pakistan cricket team paradoxy

Karachi: Pakistan one-day skipper Misbah-ul Haq and predecessor Shahid Afridi play for the same team, but come from different worlds.

If the unpredictable Pakistanis are to secure a second World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, they need the two heavyweight talents to forge a united front.

Misbah is conservative, careful; Afridi is brash, belligerent.

Misbah takes time to settle and plays with a straight bat, characteristics which are alien to most fans of the game in Pakistan who have still not forgiven him for failing to guide the country to victory over arch-rivals India in the World Twenty20 final in Johannesburg in 2007.

His ill-advised paddle-sweep with just five runs needed for victory still rankles.

Then at Mohali in the 2011 World Cup semi-finals, Misbah batted out crucial deliveries before scoring 56 off 76 balls as Pakistan again lost to India.

“If he ever sits in my cab I will ask him why he bats so slowly,” said bemused Abu Dhabi taxi driver Kamal Khan during a recent series in the Gulf, Pakistan’s home-from-home in recent years.

“Misbah is disliked for his slow batting while Afridi rules hearts because of his aggressive fours and sixes.”

Afridi tends to throw his bat from the get-go, seemingly caring little for the nature of the pitch, the strength of the bowler or the situation of the match.

“Once I went to bat and asked Afridi about the pitch and he replied: ‘I don’t know, but I am enjoying it as the ball is coming onto the bat’,” recalled former captain Ramiz Raja.

Afridi’s strength is his lusty hitting — he hit two last-over sixes to help Pakistan pull off an incredible win over India in last year’s Asia Cup in Dhaka.

When it comes to captaining the side, Misbah and Afridi are poles apart.

Despite becoming Pakistan’s most successful Test captain last year, Misbah is criticized for being defensive.

“Misbah is overly defensive as captain while Afridi attacks and is very aggressive,” former captain Mohammad Yousuf said.

Misbah took over from Afridi as one-day skipper in 2011.

But when Misbah withdrew from the third and final one-dayer against Australia in Abu Dhabi last year over poor batting form, Afridi grabbed his new opportunity with both hands.

But Misbah returned with a bang, equalling the fastest Test century off just 56 balls thus ending speculation that Afridi might replace him as captain for the World Cup.

Both men will quit one-day cricket after the World Cup but Misbah will continue to play Tests while Afridi will continue to enjoy the brasher Twenty20. (AFP)

Having diverse interests from economics to astronomy, religion, political idealism to Karl Marx’ internationalism and not to forget sports, Bilal Hussain possess the ability to simultaneously dialogue as protagonist and antagonist on an issue, which interests him. Bilal is a debater, whose cherished sanctuary is science fictions and classics and is enrolled for a PhD degree in economics at University of Karachi.



Bilal Hussain
By Bilal Hussain February 4, 2015 13:29
  • no love lost

    if AFRIDI BECOMES A CAPTAIN today, the next match hafeez will score a century, younis will score a century, akmal after 100 matches will score a quick century too.

    Pakistan Will brake its chasing record if AFRDI BECOMES A CAPTAIN.

    Appreciate Misbah for what he has done for this team. There was Nobody who was willing to take the captaincy when he step forward during those days.

    Why you guys dont understand that we are not having Home Series and its very diificult for a player to gain his lost form in overseas conditions. (UAE IS NOT A HOME GROUND, its like one)

    Aus in England AWFUL

    Eng in Australia AWFUL

    Aus in India AWFUL

    India in Aus MISERABLE

    *Steve Smiith was a night mare in UAE series and now he is scoring centuries in AUS.

    We are the only team that is not playing home cricket and still some how performing.

    *Where DHONI captaincy was gone, Where indian so called batting powerhouse was gone. Scoring millions of runs on their home soils and this TRI NATION SERIES and TEST Series with Aus, everybody was a humiliation expect kholi


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