x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Misbah: Playing for Pakistan is mental torture

Pakistan cricket's endless parade of controversies and scandal is upsetting the Test and ODI captain.

Misbah-ul-Haq plays a shot against South Africa in Abu Dhabi in November last year when he was the newly appointed Pakistan captain.
Misbah-ul-Haq plays a shot against South Africa in Abu Dhabi in November last year when he was the newly appointed Pakistan captain.

KARACHI // Pakistan cricket's endless parade of controversies and scandal has made playing for the national team akin to "mental torture", according to the captain Misbah-ul-Haq.

Misbah has led a team dogged by corruption allegations and political infighting since being appointed Test captain ahead of Pakistan's series against South Africa in the UAE in October last year after Salman Butt was banned for spot-fixing during last year's tour against England.

Following five-year bans imposed by the ICC on Butt and the bowler Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Aamer in February, Pakistan have been rocked by the departure of sacked one-day international (ODI) captain Shahid Afridi, who resigned in acrimony in May citing differences with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

"It is a mental torture to go through such things and it affects your performance," the 37-year-old batsman Misbah told Geo Super sports channel in an interview.

"It is bad for Pakistan cricket and people taunt us at home and abroad."

Misbah, who has now taken over the reins of the one-day side after Afridi's dismissal, said Pakistan's players needed a union to educate them and improve communications with their coaches and paymasters after a number of ugly contractual disputes.

"A players association can play a positive role in preparing and grooming players for international cricket and in understanding their contractual obligations," said Misbah, whose appointment as one-day captain sparked a row with Afridi.

"Once the contract is signed it is no use for players to complain about it. These matters must not be discussed in the media, it is better for players to directly speak to the board."

Misbah's comments follow the leg-spinner Danish Kaneria's legal challenge against the board's decision to overlook him for national selection.

Despite the troubles, Misbah said he remained fit and passionate about the sport.

"I am mentally up for international cricket. As long as I am performing I will carry on," he said. "Age is no bar for me.

"I feel a cricketer only matures after the age of 30. Fortunately that is what happened to me."