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Misbah in the backseat as Hafeez calls the shots

September 12, 2012

-Photo by AFP

LAHORE: Pakistan’s Test and One-day International captain Misbah-ul-Haq, one of the most successful skippers in Pakistan cricket history, is facing a difficult situation since he has been forced to surrender his powers of selecting the playing XI to T20 captain Mohammad Hafeez, well informed sources told Dawn.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has delivered a clear message to the team management that T20 captain Hafeez is the right man to consult with because he is the future captain of Pakistan for all the three formats and should be encouraged to take decisions to give him more confidence, the sources disclosed.

The message from the Board has obviously shaken Misbah’s confidence and to save his skin he is simply following the orders given by his employers without showing any real resistance.

Sources further said head coach Dav Whatmore had also been instructed that he should consult with Hafeez in the matters of selection and strategy for every match.

Sources further disclosed that PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf has not been happy with Misbah’s captaincy since taking the charge as the Board chief.  The sources further said that Misbah is keeping quite over this new situation and is awaiting the results of the T20 World Cup which is scheduled to start in Sri Lanka from Sept 18.

Moreover, the sources said Misbah is also facing problems in controlling his players while Hafeez is enjoying full powers in the dressing room.

They revealed that the playing XI for the last ODI match against Australia in the UAE was primarily selected by Hafeez while national selector Saleem Jaffar and coach Whatmore did not have much input in it.

The sources said though Misbah had led Pakistan to the Asia Cup win over Bangladesh in the final earlier this year, his team was honoured after three long months as the PCB did not want to give any importance to his achievements.

And when the function was finally organised at the Expo Centre after three months, Misbah, Shahid Afridi and some other players got up to leave midway over some snide remarks made by the host, saying that they were being ridiculed as if they had lost the Cup.

It was also surprising that soon after the Asia Cup victory, the PCB took the decision to appoint Hafeez as the new T20 cup captain for the the series against Sri Lanka. Pakistan drew the series in Hafeez’s captaincy.

Though Misbah’s defensive approach as captain has earned criticism from a few quarters, he is still a winning captain and that is what counts in the end. Misbah has led Pakistan in 17 Test matches, winning nine, losing just two and drawing the other six. Misbah’s success rate in both the ODIs and T20s is close to 75 per cent which is fairly good.