x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Captain Misbah's passivity can hurt in future for Pakistan

Though Twenty20 is the format in which Misbah resurrected his career, at 38, his passivity doesn't seem to fit naturally into the limited overs game.

Ordinarily, the upside of winning a limited overs tournament featuring the world champions and runners-up should not be that the captain's future comes under the spotlight. But then Misbah-ul-Haq is not an ordinary captain and the side he leads does not do ordinary.

Winning the Asia Cup is a fitting way to end a natural cycle of sustained progress for Pakistan, both in Tests and ODIs. But life moves on swiftly.

Pakistan have a strange, scant look to their calendar from now. Another series against Sri Lanka in the summer, some ODIs and T20s against Australia thereafter, the World T20, before assignments in Southern Africa next year.

Though Pakistan won the Asia Cup, their balance doesn't feel right. More specifically, their middle order is too inert; Younis Khan and Misbah in the same XI still raises questions. Their experience is essential, their mostly one-paced batting not so. Younger options are waiting.

Is it too early to start planning for the 2015 World Cup? How about the World T20 this year?

The freshly-installed Dav Whatmore will have his specific ideas on what a T20 team should look like and though it is the format in which Misbah resurrected his career, at 38, his passivity doesn't seem to fit naturally into the limited overs game.

There should be no question over his Test leadership. But had it not been for Shahid Afridi and Ijaz Butt's breakdown last year, Afridi probably would still have been ODI and T20 captain. And that idea seemed to make better sense. Maybe now is the time to start the discussion on Misbah's limited overs successor.

 

osamiuddin@thenational.ae