Misbah braces up to lead Pakistan for Sydney Test

Misbah-ul-Haq dismissed suggestions of retirement in the press conference ahead of Pakistan's third and final Test against Australia in Sydney.

Misbah-ul-Haq..."You have to fight as a sportsman and that's important for me also."   -  Reuters

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said on Monday he will lead the side in the third Test against Australia in Sydney, dismissing suggestions he was about to retire.

Misbah, 42, raised the possibility following his team's abject > innings defeat in the second Melbourne Test last week to lose the series, when he said he would contemplate his future and may even retire before Tuesday's final Test. But Pakistan's most successful skipper on Monday appeared at the captain's media conference before the Test to hose down speculation of his imminent retirement.

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Misbah, who has scored a total of 20 runs in four innings in the series, said his comments after the innings and 18-run defeat in Melbourne were triggered by frustration. "That was 2016 - now it's 2017," he told reporters. "That is gone, that is gone. You have to fight as a sportsman and that's important for me also. I'm happy that I've got a very good family, all the team. The way they supported me (was appreciated). Everyone, from the support staff to the players - and they're up for that (fight), so I'm also up. I need to play at my best."

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Misbah said he was not thinking about the end of his international career that started in 2001, although well-placed sources said he would make the final decision about his playing status once he returns home to Pakistan.

Misbah now concentrates only on Test cricket. He retired from One-Day Internationals after Pakistan's defeat to Australia in the World Cup quarterfinal in 2015. After the Test series against Australia, Pakistan does not have any Test scheduled until April, when it tours the West Indies for a four-match series.

Playing XI yet to be confirmed

Misbah's most immediate assignment after the Australia series will be in the United Arab Emirates in the Pakistan Super League with Islamabad United, which starts on February 9.

Misbah opted against naming a final Test team on Monday, admitting there could be changes after his side's woeful last day in the Melbourne Test. "Traditionally, Sydney is a bit different. It all depends on the final look of the pitch," he said.

Australia holds an unassailable 2-0 lead in the Test series. Heading into Sydney, Pakistan has not won a Test in Australia since its 'dead rubber' victory at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1995.