LAHORE: Pakistan Test batsman Asad Shafiq on Thursday dispelled the impression that Misbah-ul-Haq is too strict to become the national team’s new head coach as he appeared to back the latter’s candidacy for the vacant position.
Former skipper Misbah is the front-runner for not only the coaching job but also the chief selector’s post, both of which have been vacant since the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decided not to renew Mickey Arthur’s contract and chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq decided to step down.
When asked during a media talk at the Gaddafi Stadium if Misbah would be too stringent for the head coach position, right-handed Asad admitted that his former mentor is uncompromising on certain issues but cannot be called stringent.
“I have played with Misbah for five, six years, and I never found him too strict,” Asad told the reporters. “He doesn’t compromise on some things which he should. Like on fitness he doesn’t compromise. Even here he is working us hard. He also sits with the juniors and teaches us. He is very cooperative if you give your 100 per cent.”
He acknowledged that him and Azhar Ali have been unable to fill the massive gap that emerged following the 2017 retirements of heavyweights like Misbah and Younis Khan, Pakistan’s record-breaking Test batsman with 10,099 runs made with the help of 34 centuries.
When asked if he would be ready if offered the national captaincy, he said: “Every player is ready for the job. Right now the captain is Sarfraz Ahmed and we all support him. It’s the PCB’s decision so what I think does not matter.”
“After they left, we should have performed even better and played longer innings; we have not done that,” Asad rued. “But this is in our minds that we have to step up. We are working on trying to convert small innings into bigger ones like they used to.”
Published in Dawn, August 23rd, 2019