Misbah points at suffering due to lack of India-Pak bilateral series

Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan's Test captain, has expressed disappointment at the lack of international contests between India and Pakistan in terms of bilateral series, saying it affects cricket in both countries.

“It is disappointing that is not going to happen by the look of things. Not playing against each other affects cricket in both countries," Misbah-ul-Haq said.   -  AP (File Photo)

Disappointed with the fact that chances of the bilateral India-Pakistan series are all but over, Pakistan Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq today said he would have loved to play more cricket against India in the last few years. Misbah had said earlier that he would retire after the India-Pakistan series in December but with the Indian government unable to give a go-ahead, the bilateral series is unlikely to happen.

“It is disappointing that Pakistan and India are not playing and don’t play more often against each other,” he said. “I just think Pakistan and Indian cricket teams have so much chemistry when they play against each other and it is also disappointing for the fans in both countries the existing scenario,” he said.

“I would love to have played against them more often in Test cricket in the last few years. They have quality spinners and world-class batsmen who play spin well. That is also our strength and it is always a special rivalry when we play against each other,” Misbah added.

He pointed out that there was a lot in common in between both countries and players and people loved to see the two teams engaged in cricket contests. “Playing against each other is beneficial for players of both teams in many ways and I think the players are disappointed that we don’t have more cricket,” the senior batsman said.

Misbah, who has been Test captain since 2010, said he had hoped to lead Pakistan against India in a proper Test series this December and would have liked to end his career in a befitting manner. “It is disappointing that is not going to happen by the look of things. Not playing against each other affects cricket in both countries.”

Pakistan are presently languishing in the ninth position in the ICC ODI rankings and Misbah put this down to lack of exposure for the players at the domestic level in 50-overs cricket. “We are doing okay in Test cricket and the T20 format because our players play a lot of first-class matches and T20 events in Pakistan. But we hardly have any 50-overs' competitions at the domestic level and that is hurting our cricket,” he said.

Tours of England and Australia a big challenge

Misbah, 41, also conceded that despite having a good Test record in the last five years the tours to England and Australia next year represented a big challenge for the team. “I know people say we have played most of our Tests in UAE or Sri Lanka in this period and it is true also. That is why our team has to prepare hard and see the tour to England as the next big challenge to raise the stock of Pakistan cricket,” he said.

Misbah said he remained uncertain about his own future.

“Right now I want to continue playing for Pakistan and go to England that is why I am still active on the domestic front. But the tour to England is next summer and still months away so anything can happen. But I know lot of people expect me as a long serving captain to accept the challenge and also lead the team in England and Australia and retire after that.”

Misbah said he was trying to get some county exposure in England before the tour as he had not played long format cricket in those conditions. “Let us see what happens but I know going to England and Australia and doing well there would be the ultimate way to finally retire.”

Asked about his appearance in the Pakistan Super League Misbah said tongue in cheeck if anyone bid for him he was ready to play in the league.

“I also went to the BPL to get exposure in this format but I think having your own league is beneficial for our players in many ways. In foreign leagues sometimes you don’t get enough opportunities to play and that is very disappointing for any player. I experienced that in Bangladesh. So having our own league would be the best thing to happen to our cricket.”