Pakistan’s drawn Test series against England last summer was followed by the Misbah-ul-Haq-led side’s crowning as the number one Test team in the world.
The jubilant team came back home and left for the United Arab Emirates to host a struggling West Indies side for a three-match Test series.
Pakistan took that series, winning the first two matches. According to Misbah, the turning point came when his team faltered in the third Test, giving Windies a precious win.
“In the Test series against the West Indies in UAE, the visitors gave us tough time throughout the series and later won the Sharjah Test. But we failed to realise what it had done to us because we won that series,” the Pakistan Test skipper told Dawn
The 42-year-old believed the lack of realisation was the main reason why Pakistan faltered big time in the series against New Zealand and Australia later last year.
Pakistan were embarrassingly whitewashed by the Kiwis and the Aussies 2-0 and 3-0 respectively, eventually dropping down in the Test rankings too.
“That Sharjah defeat had dented our confidence a lot and we never recovered from there and could not be at our best in New Zealand and Australia,” said Misbah
“Once you relax after achieving success, you start coming down,” he added.
The skipper, however, was brave enough to accept responsibility for the failure and also expressed pride that he was there with his team in the bad times too.
“My contribution used to be massive in all the previous Test series but it was zero Down Under and that also had a huge affect on the team,” confessed Misbah.
The Multan-born cricketer said he could have retired when the team reached the top of the Test Rankings or when Pakistan famously thrashed England 3-0 in UAE in 2012 — but did not want to leave the team on it’s own in the tougher conditions Down Under.
“Yes, I could have retired after the series against England in England or even before that in Dubai after the whitewash against England,” he said.
“I could have said, ‘Ok good, let’s quit after this victory and let the team face the music in New Zealand and Australia,” added Misbah.
“I could never be so selfish so as to leave my team all alone to face that stiff challenge. Yes I lost there as captain, but I didn’t desert my team and am proud of it.”
Pakistan are to play three Tests in the Caribbean against West Indies in May after they face them in a four-match T20 and three-match ODI series.
Misbah said the series is a big challenge and might be his last campaign as the Pakistan Test captain.
“But the upcoming tour of the West Indies might be my last. I am looking forward to secure the first series against West Indies on their soil. But it is a big challenge,” he said.