No replacement for Misbah, says Miandad

Pakistan's Misbah-ul-Haq, right, drives the ball against Australia during their cricket test match in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

ISLAMABAD (AP) Former Pakistan great Javed Miandad has blamed the country’s weak domestic cricket structure for not finding a replacement for 42-year-old test captain Misbah-ul-Haq.

Misbah is Pakistan’s most successful test captain with 24 victories from 53 test matches, losing 18 and drawing 11. The defeats include a 3-0 whitewash at the hands of Australia completed on Saturday as Pakistan lost the third test by 220 runs at Sydney.

Misbah had been Pakistan’s batting mainstay for the past six years but scores of 4, 5, 11, 0, 18 and 38 in six test innings in Australia had led critics to say it was time for him to depart.

”The problem is we don’t have anyone to replace Misbah,” Miandad told The Associated Press on Saturday. ”This shows how weak our cricketing structure is.”

Miandad believes the Pakistan Cricket Board had not thought about succession.

”Everywhere in the world there’s a system in place and players come and go, but unfortunately we didn’t adopt any such system,” Miandad said.

”Why are we now asking Misbah to leave? Have we prepared any replacement for him? Unfortunately the answer is no and now it’s entirely upto Misbah to decide himself when he wants to quit.”

When Pakistan lost the second test at Melbourne, there was strong speculation that Misbah would retire, perhaps even before the third test. But Misbah led the side in Sydney and even after Saturday’s defeat he didn’t indicate when he plans to quit test cricket.

Pakistan’s next international assignment is a tour to the West Indies after it organizes its domestic Twenty20 league in the United Arab Emirates in March.

”That’s the unfortunate part of Pakistan cricket,” Miandad said. ”Misbah knows it very well that there’s nobody who could lead the test side and that’s why he has not yet made up his mind.”

Receny, PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan also conceded that he couldn’t see anyone other than Misbah in the short term.

Sydney’s defeat was Pakistan’s 12th test loss in a row in Australia, dating back to 1999.

Miandad said it required special skill and technique to play in Australia.

”I am sorry to say but we don’t have players of such caliber,” Miandad said. ”Playing aggressive cricket is the key to success in Australia and we were too defensive in our approach in batting, bowling and fielding.”