When Misbah was reintroduced in the Pakistan team, the bloggers on Legslip criticised his reselection. The basis of this was that instead of grooming younger and more talented batsmen, the PCB made a strange decision of entrusting Misbah with the responsibility of leading Pakistan’s batting attack. As a batsman Misbah never performed assertively against good teams or on bowling pitches. If the lack of sheer batting skill was not enough, Misbah also showed on occasions that he was not a pressure player. Many people claim that Tendulkar is not a pressure player as well, but when it comes to sheer batting skill disassociated from whatever the match situation may be, Tendulkar is probably the best batsman of our generation and he has this quality of scoring plenty of runs at a very consistent rate. Misbah is pathetic at scoring runs because he is a sitting duck when the ball is moving and even when the ball is not moving he just cannot score quickly.
When Misbah was appointed captain I exclaimed that Umar Akmal, Saeed Ajmal or Umar Gul (whose form has worsened since then) would have made better choices. This is of course assuming Afridi, the captain who took a broken, demoralised team into the WC semi final (which was lost primarily due to Misbah’s poor batting and secondarily Younis’s slow innings) was unavailable for whatever reason. A 10 year old kid can tell you that Afridi, with his proactive and motivational approach to his players, is a better captain than Misbah; however for some reason some commentators are hellbent on stating what is just not obvious.
Recently I researched players’ averages in Tests won, lost and drawn and came up with the following:
NAME, AVERAGE WON-AVERAGE LOST-AVERAGE DRAWN
G Smith, 64-28-52
I did not include Inzamam then but Inzamam averages a whopping 78 in matches won, 28 in matches lost and 47 in matches drawn, providing some credibility to the claim that he was perhaps Pakistan’s greatest match winner.
Whereas this research is not comprehensive, and does not take into account Sagaat’s arguments about standard deviation, for argument’s sake I will proceed on the basis that these statistics have considerable credibility, for the mere reason of how they illustrate the match winning prowess of players like Inzamam, Sangakkara, Smith and Dravid.
Do these statistics not back up what we have consistently complained about Misbah, that is batting his selfish and he is not interested in winning matches? The next worse ratio of average in matches won and drawn is Kallis’s, who is universally considered to be a selfish player, but his ratio is 1:1.23 whereas Misbah’s ratio is 1:1.98. In other words Misbah averages nearly twice as much in those matches which Pakistan has drawn as opposed to in those matches which Pakistan has won. This is where Misbah surely beats Tendulkar and Lara because those two substandard batsmen don’t even come close to averaging 83 in drawn matches!!
What is this nonsense and why is Misbah being treated as a batting legend? He is a totally mediocre player who only performs against poor teams or when the conditions favour batting. Even on batting pitches he has looked helpless against good teams. His captaincy is negative and you can see how pathetic he is at planning the team’s approach to posting a target, chasing a target, motivating his players to improve their performance etc. As a fielder he drops many catches, he misfields and his picking and throwing is lethargic.
Misbah’s supporters in the PCB and beyond need to stop dreaming that this tenure will provide some confidence or stability to the Pakistan team. Batsmen will not improve their game by gaining inspiration from someone who can’t score quickly, who can’t play seam and swing and who just crumbles under pressure. Bowlers and fielders will not gain any inspiration at someone who does not know how to make his bowlers perform consistently or who is not interested in raising his own fielding standards.
Pakistan may end up winning every match in this Zimbabwe tour under Misbah’s captaincy, but will this really be a victory for Pakistan fans and Pakistan cricket?