The year was 2010. As Pakistan’s tour of England came to an end, came the shocking news about the infamous match fixing saga.Three of their players, including captain Salman Butt and youngster Mohammed Amir were found guilty of match-fixing and were sentenced to jail. This news had come just one year after the infamous terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus at Lahore.
Just as everyone began to doubt the survival of Pakistan cricket, the then PCB chairman Ijaz Butt arranged a secret meeting with the 36-year-old Misbah-ul-Haq to offer him the Test captaincy role. Misbah was the ODI captain of the team as well at the time.
As the two gentlemen met in a clerk’s office during the tour of England in 2010, the PCB Chairman did not realise that he made the best decision of his life. The decision was questioned by many, and Misbah hit back at those who criticised the decision and stated that he should be given a chance.
Misbah took over the reigns when Pakistan were ranked 6th in Test cricket and were swimming deep in controversies. Fast forward to today, Pakistan are ranked 2nd in Tests. For a brief period, they were even on top after their successful outing at England, until India displaced them after defeating New Zealand in the first 2 Tests.
Misbah has completely transformed Pakistan cricket and its players. His calm and cerebral approach along with his intense patriotism have made him the most successful Test captain Pakistan have ever had. Misbah has led Pakistan in 46 test matches, winning 22, losing 13 with 11 draws. No other former Pakistan captain had a record which was even close to this. Imran Khan had 14 wins in 48 Tests and A.H Kardar, who was Pakistan’s first ever Test captain,had six wins in 23 matches.
Misbah is one of the few cricketers whose batting performance became much better after being named the captain. Before 2010, Misbah had scored 1,008 runs in 33 Tests at an average of 33.60. Since becoming Captain, he has scored a further 3,344 runs in 42 Tests, at an average of 56.68.
At the age of 42, he became the oldest ever Test captain since Australia’s Warwick Armstrong in 1921. As Pakistan took on England at the 4th and final Test match of the 4 match series, Pakistan went on to script a memorable win to level the series 2-2, which took them to the top of the rankings in Test cricket.
Despite doing so, when asked about his favourite series as captain, he went on to say that the 3-0 series win against England in 2012 at UAE was the most memorable.
“For me, the biggest series win in these six years for us was clean sweeping England 3-0 in the UAE in 2012. The series had a lot of hype and England was number one team at that time. Winning that series 3-0 instilled a lot of belief in us and added a lot to our fighting spirits,” said Misbah.
Apart from being Pakistan’s most successful captain of all time, Misbah has numerous records to his name. He is the first batsman to make a Test hundred after the age of 41 since Geoffrey Boycott in 1981.He also holds the record of the fastest Fifty in Tests (21 Balls) and the record of the joint second fastest century in Tests (56 balls) against Australia at Abu Dhabi