I wish to thank and appreciate Captain Misbah ul Haq, for his many years of service to Pakistan cricket. These sentiments are echoed by Pakistani fans across the world. We owe it to you for rescuing Pakistan cricket from its lowest depths in 2010. You personally as captain, have led by example and given us respect back on the international level.
Let’s take a look at your career.
Your Test match debut was in 2001, at the age of 27 years. Scoring a total of 3736 runs, at an average of 49.2. With 8 centuries and 26 fifties. Highest score 161 not out.
One day International debut 2002, total of 5122 runs, average 43.4. Highest score 96 not out, 42 fifties.
Even at the age of 40 years your fitness is exemplary, many have retired at a much younger age. You are still faster than the youngsters.
In 2010 when Salman Butt was removed as captain for spot fixing, Pakistan were desperate for a leader. You at the age of 36 years were chosen as the successor, it was the best decision made by the board.
Your solid middle order batting and leadership skills made a vital, much needed impact. Your calm, determined temperament together with exception cricketing knowledge brought Pakistan back to its feet. Time after time we depended on you for valuable runs, you rarely disappointed.
In a country full of disorganisation and chaos you provided hope, intellect and stability. Even though you were unable to lead any international home games in Pakistan, you adapted to playing abroad.
Under your leadership Pakistan won Test series against New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Australia and England. In one day series we beat Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies, India and New Zealand. You also secured an Asia Cup title win. You brought success in many Twenty20 games.
Misbah ul Haq the nation of Pakistan is indebted to you for your most significant contribution. Intelligent cricket critics around the world are fully aware of your immense role. You are quietly humble and not the type of captain to go around reminding people of your vast achievements. This personality trait is much appreciated, at a time when sportsmen who are too quick to show off.
A small minority of cricket commentators have unfortunately forgotten or choose to overlook your commitment and efforts. However the world of cricket is fully aware of how you were responsible for turning around a sinking ship and providing the required stability and courage. You navigated the team through deeply troubled waters. You took the challenges and pressure in your stride.
I agree with you that we need to improve our basic structure in Pakistan to develop and coach the essential cricketing skills. However we have an enormous amount of natural talent. Just look at the success of the Pakistan under 19 team over the last 5 years.
We need to take this young talent and nurture them, we are able to compete with the other international teams. We need to send these youngsters to play seasons in England, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and West Indies. The great success our Pakistan cricket team had in the 1970s/80s was due to many of the top players being contracted to English counties.
The more the younger players learn abroad the better it is for Pakistan, as they will develop the required confidence. I am glad to hear that 19 year old Sami Aslam ‘Pakistan’s next opener’ has signed for Darwen Cricket Club, Lancashire UK.
I have great hope for the future of Pakistan cricket as I am aware of the talent at our disposal. The Pakistan Cricket Board needs to harness this potential, so we can reach further heights internationally.
Misbah ul Haq you have been the best role model, leading by example. You are an extraordinary batsmen and captain. Pakistan salutes you.
I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours.