Misbah likely to take a call on his future on Friday

Pakistan's captain Misbah-ul-Haq is expected to make a clear announcement about his future on Friday before the national team embarks on its challenging tour of England.

Misbah is optimistic about Pakistan's chances in its upcoming tour of England.   -  Reuters

Long-serving captain of Pakistan's Test side, Misbah-ul-Haq is expected to make a clear announcement about his future on Friday before the national team embarks on its challenging tour of England.

Misbah, 42, was compelled by the Pakistan Cricket Board not to retire from Test cricket late last year and lead the team on the England tour and a PCB official said the captain now wanted to clearly outline his future plans before leaving for England. “Misbah will officially announce it in press or would convey it to the board till Friday of till when he wants to continue playing international cricket,” he said.

Misbah had retired from one-day internationals last year after the World Cup and from the international T20 format even before that but continues to play Test cricket. His critics and supporters believe that the tour of England will define Misbah’s place in Pakistan cricket history as Pakistan in the last four to five years has played its home series in the United Arab Emirates on generally flat pitches.

Ironically, Misbah was not part of the Pakistan squad that went to England in late 2010 for a tour which saw the infamous spot-fixing scandal erupt in the fourth and final Test at Lords. But it was after that tour that PCB decided to appoint Misbah as Test captain, a position he has held until now.

The 42-year has not played a Test in England and his deputy Azhar Ali is the only batsman from the current batting line-up who played the Lord’s Test. But Misbah made it clear he remained confident about the team’s chances in England as it boosted a strong bowling line up and a confident batting line up.

'Batting line-up experienced'

“Our batting line up is way more experienced than the side which toured England in 2010. Results will be better.”

Misbah admitted that the English pace attack posed a serious challenge for the Pakistani batsmen in their home conditions but said the batsmen have been told they must be prepared to stand up and be counted. “Facing the England pace attack will be the biggest challenge for Pakistan. We’ve been preparing for it since the past month. Batsmen need to be well-disciplined against the England attack.”

Misbah has twice led Pakistan to Test series wins over England in 2012, completing a 3-0 whitewash and last year as well, but both series were played in UAE. He said Pakistan has a good opportunity to leave a historic mark in the series.

Misbah said Pakistan had two potential match-winning bowlers in Mohammad Amir and leg-spinner Yasir Shah while the other bowlers were also capable of taking regular wickets.

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