What’s the story?
Pakistan Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq announced his retirement from international cricket and he will be playing his last series against West Indies in the upcoming three-match Test series to be held from 21 April, 2017.
Misbah told reporters in a press conference at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, “The series against the West Indies is my last series.”
He added that he was under no pressure to take the decision. “I am satisfied,” he said.
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Reflecting on his career, the 42-year-old batsman said, “My cricket journey was very good... There were many hardships in my career but for now, I am focusing on the present situation.”
In case you didn’t know…
The right-handed batsman, who made his Test debut back in 2001, has featured in 72 Tests so far. He has scored 4951 runs and is the seventh highest run-getter in Tests in Pakistan’s all-time list. Misbah was handed the captaincy in the wake of the spot-fixing scandal in 2010.
He is the most successful Test captain Pakistan has ever had, boasting a record of 24 wins in 53 matches. He retired from limited overs cricket after the ICC ODI World Cup in 2015.
The heart of the matter
Rumours were rife about the veteran batsman’s retirement. Back in January, some of the former stars of Pakistan cricket were demanding Misbah step down and even blamed his poor run of form for a 3-0 whitewash at the hands of Australia.
It seemed like they had forgotten what Misbah has achieved through the course of his career. It is true that his dip in form coincided with the team’s string of losses in Test matches but one should bear in mind that it was him who led the team to the number one ranking last year.
After Pakistan’s defeat to Australia in Melbourne, Misbah himself admitted, despondently, that he was unsure about his future. Eventually, he has made up his mind and decided to call it curtains on his illustrious career.
Misbah will play his final three Tests against West Indies, the first of which is scheduled to be held in Jamaica on April 21. The second match will be played in Barbados on April 30 while the third will be played in Dominica on May 10.
The decision to retire from Test cricket comes at the right time. At 42, Misbah is well past the average age of an international cricketer and his own batting form has not been up to the mark, lately. However, filling up the huge gaping hole in the team that Misbah will leave behind will not be an easy task.