Misbah’s dilemma

16 Oct 2020

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HE came, he saw, he relinquished. That is the sum total of former cricket skipper Misbah-ul-Haq’s 13-month stint as head coach-chief selector-batting coach. Now he is only head coach. On Wednesday, Misbah announced he was quitting his job as chief selector because he couldn’t give ample time to his other duties assigned by the PCB. It was in September last year that the PCB, in an unprecedented move, decided to appoint Misbah as the national team’s head coach and chief selector, a decision that was destined to backfire. The critics were up in arms on two counts. Firstly, they correctly pointed out that Misbah, despite being a fine cricketer and the most successful captain in the country’s cricketing history, had no experience whatsoever of coaching or selecting a team. Secondly, they insisted, it would not be physically possible for Misbah to discharge his two duties with diligence and that he would not have the time or focus to do justice to both. But rather than heeding these observations from experts including former players, the PCB went on to announce that Misbah would also handle the role of batting coach.

Predictably enough, it has been a downhill road for the ex-skipper. Pakistan lost major series against Australia and England. In all three formats — Tests, ODIs and T20s — its rankings have taken a beating, which has justifiably earned the ire of fans. The appointment of ex-batsman Younis Khan as batting coach on the last England tour in July-August was a sign that the pressure of wearing three hats at once had started to tell on Misbah. Now he has excused himself from the chief selector’s role as well.The new dispensation in the PCB wants to show it means business. But all it has done so far is to take hasty decisions, only to reverse them or see them backfire. The PCB must learn from the failed Misbah experiment and appoint a seasoned person as chief selector to ensure Pakistan is represented by the very best.

Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2020