Misbah-ul-Haq hails Pakistan team after Lord's turnaround
Six years on from the infamous spot-fixing scandal of 2010, Pakistan created history at Lord’s with a thrilling win over hosts England to take a 1-0 lead in the 4-match Test series and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq was understandably overjoyed with emotions as he hailed his team’s dedication and spirit for overcoming the shame caused by that regrettable incident.
"It's been a remarkable turnaround after the 2010 incident," Misbah said at the presentation ceremony after winning the match. "The team took real responsibility and these players showed a lot of respect for the game, fought throughout the six years and brought plenty of wins. Their on- and off-the-field disciplines are really good and winning against a top side, who are really good in their home conditions, speaks volumes for this team and for all the players.”
Rating the 75-run victory as one of the best under his captaincy, Misbah credited the Pakistani bowlers, especially leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who picked up 10 wickets in the match to earn the Man-of-the-Match award as well as regaining the status of being the No 1 Test bowler in the world.
"It is one of the top wins as a captain and as a Pakistan team. I'm really proud of the team, everybody fought and came out with really good skills. Especially today, mentally everyone was strong. Yasir Shah in first and second innings and the fast bowlers bowled really well. Overall it was a good win for us," Misbah said.
While the entire focus prior to the beginning of the Test was understandably on Mohammad Amir, who was making his first Test appearance since being handed the 5-year-ban for his involvement in the spot-fixing fiasco during the 2010 Lord’s Test, the left-arm pacer made a less than expected impact but was nevertheless decisive in the final scheme of things as his two wickets towards the end of Day 4 clinched the match in favour of the visitors.
Talking about Amir, Misbah said: “He's part of the team that has won the Test match, it will be one of the memorable days of his life and from here he can start his career again. He's a good kid now, he's a mature cricketer and he can prove to everyone that he's a good bowler."
Misbah believes that the bowling department, as has been the case through the ages, is Pakistan’s biggest threat and is confident that with a little help from the batsmen, they can clinch victory in the coming matches as well.
"We always believe that if we cross 300 we have a chance, especially in the first innings, because we have a top spinner,” he said. “And in the fourth innings when the pitch dries up they can put pressure on the opposition, the quicks are so good with reverse swing, and they can make it really difficult. They proved it today."
While Misbah showered praise on his bowlers, he had to be asked of his role in the victory after he had smashed a fighting century in the first innings to give Pakistan the decisive lead. The skipper responded in typical humble fashion.
"It happens sometimes, you live by the sword you die by the sword. You have to back yourself. This is how you score a hundred and sometimes a zero," Misbah said with a smile.