Test captain Misbah comes down hard on his critics

FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017 file photo, Pakistan's captan Misbah-ul-Haq gestures to teammates during their cricket test match against Australia in Sydney, Australia. Pakistan's most successful test captain Misbah-ul-Haq says if the critics continued to blast the national team it will be difficult for the country's future captain. "I retired one year ago, but at that time the whole nation said 'no I should keep on touring,'" A disgruntled Misbah told reporters in his hometown Faisalabad on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

ISLAMABAD (AP) Pakistan’s most successful test captain Misbah-ul-Haq says it will be hard to find players willing to captain the national team if they continue to face strong criticism at home.

”I retired one year ago, but at that time the whole nation said `no I should keep on touring,”’ Misbah told reporters on Wednesday.

”Now the whole nation is saying that I should be ashamed of myself and go. If you do such things, tomorrow nobody will be ready to become captain.”

Most recently, Pakistan lost a test series 3-0 against Australia and also lost the one-day international series 4-1 with Azhar Ali and Mohammad Hafeez leading the side.

Prior to the tour of Australia, New Zealand defeated Pakistan 2-0 in a test series in which Misbah led in the first test before flying back home due to a death in the family.

After the defeats, former test players including legendary Wasim Akram, Ramiz Raja, Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Yousuf voted for T20 captain Sarfraz Ahmed to also be put in charge of Pakistan’s ODI and test teams.

Misbah said it was unfortunate that his countrymen forgot quickly how well the team did over the last six years since he was made captain.

”It’s not necessary that you win every series, it’s not necessary you perform in every series,” Misbah said.

”Our views change if you don’t perform in four matches, despite the fact that you have been performing well for the last six years.

Last year, under Misbah’s captaincy Pakistan briefly rose to No. 1 in the test rankings but poor performances in Australia and New Zealand brought them down to No. 6 in the world.

”We need consistency in the thinking of our nation and only then there will be consistency in our team,” Misbah said.

”If your thinking is not consistent and it changes after one match, then the team’s performance will also be like this.”

Pakistan has not hosted any major international team since a 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus at Lahore. Only Zimbabwe has toured Pakistan in 2015 but that was a short tour comprising three one-day internationals.

Misbah said Pakistan needed to make its domestic cricket more competitive and improve the pitches in first class matches. He also pointed out that the lack of international tours to countries like Australia was the main reason for Pakistan players’ poor performances.

”If you want to do well in England, Australia and South Africa we have to give our players maximum exposure of playing there,” Misbah said.

The Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday said it will call a two-day meeting of former test cricketers next month to discuss how to improve the national team’s performance. The PCB said in a statement that invitations for the March 6-7 meeting will also be extended to former captains Imran Khan, Zaheer Abbas and Javed Miandad, along with Akram and Akhtar.