Pakistan cricket team’s otherwise cool and calm skipper Misbah-ul-Haq’s recent outburst during a media briefing was anything but expected. Hearing him speak out was indeed a shocker for many. The burden on him was immense, especially considering the fact that he was one cricketer shouldering the responsibilities, taking the bulk of the burden and facing the brunt of all the mishaps occurring on and off the field.
The constant criticism of the various Pakistan team players, making mockery of their every action not only defamed them, it may also have hurt their overall morale as a unit, a contributing factor perhaps for Pakistan not making it to the final. The only good those comments from ex-cricketers and the so-called experts could do was to increase the ratings of their respective shows or channels that aired them.
Quite frankly, the build up towards the ICC World Cup-2015 for the Pakistan team was such that they were not even expected to reach the quarter-finals. There were so many things going against the side such as team selection, untoward injuries, the exclusion of a key opener and wicketkeeper, a ban faced by our top bowler, not being able to quickly adapt to changing rules, etc. We all knew exactly where we were heading.
Expert advice for ‘expert’ commentators: Look before you blame
And still online forums and the media hung on to unrealistic assumptions and beliefs, comparing this time around with our 1992 heroics, looking for similarities between the two and expecting miracles.
This World Cup ended on a low for two of Pakistan’s cricketing greats. They may have been irritating and a source of frustration for many at times but both served the country and provided the nation with happiness through some jaw-dropping performances when least expected regardless of the opposition on that day.
|An outraged Misbah-ul-Haq speaking to the media after his return from the World Cup|
Shahid Afridi and Misbah-ul-Haq both captained Pakistan and remained under the swords of expert opinions and commentators’ remarks throughout their career till the very last ball was bowled.
They go down now in history as two great cricketers, and they take with them the easy bread and butter of their many critics who would never get tired of bombarding them with their unjustified comments on many occasions. For them, it’s now time to look for some other side job till they can pick on some other talented Pakistani player and take him apart without thinking of the repercussions of their words.
When Misbah took over the captaincy of the national team all was falling apart for them. Not much has changed even today. However, he remained the resilient force, the cornerstone, the calming factor and a pillar to hold on to. His only faults: he was perhaps not cunning enough or not selfish enough. In the last few years, he would be regularly required to steady the sinking ship of Pakistani batting and control the dynamics of our innings that would get us some runs for the bowlers to be able to fight back on our turn to field. But even then he was not able to carve out a single century for himself. If one sees it from a different angle, the statistics of no century in an entire ODI career of a batting genius of Misbah’s calibre and forte, speaks volumes of his dedication to the team and his unselfish attitude.
Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, April 5th, 2015