Misbah-ul-Haq, in more ways than one, was the hero Pakistan needed but never deserved. In a nation crazy for the speedsters and dashers, like Shoaib Akhtar and Shahid Afridi, Misbah was an anti-thesis, the Rock of Gibraltar who built a stable team in his own image.
Misbah, a dasher himself, who almost took Pakistan to glory in the 2007 T20 World Cup before a brain-fade took over, was a late bloomer in whites. But he has probably been Pakistan’s most glorious captain since Imran Khan (although not in the same flamboyant, world-beating beast mode) and one of their best middle order batsmen.
Who knows what could have happened if he had a longer career.
But the 42-year old, named as one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year, a great tribute to his longevity and contribution to cricket, has finally called it quits. The series against West Indies, away from home, where he confesses he wants to win, would be his last.
Misbah has 4951 runs from 126 innings in 72 tests at an average of 45.84 with 10 centuries and 36 half-centuries. That’s a fifty in every three innings or fewer. Here we take a look at his top five Test knocks.
We have left out a few important knocks out like the 133* against India, the 99 against New Zealand in Wellington and the 100 against South Africa at Abu Dhabi in favour of five knocks where Misbah battled tough bowling and tough situations.
#1 161* (351) v India, Kolkata, 2007
Any runs against the arch-rival are twice their value. This epic innings by Misbah showed how he can absorb pressure and exude calmness, the persona that helped Pakistan reach the top of Test rankings at one point, despite a shaky batting lineup.
In the second Test of the India tour at Eden Gardens, India posted a mammoth 616 for 5 in their first innings. Pakistan were already down 0-1 in the series and at one point, they were struggling at 150 for 5. Misbah added 207 for the sixth wicket with Kamran Akmal, who scored 119.
But the now 42-years-old was far from being done. He added 91 for the seventh wicket with Mohammad Sami and remained unbeaten till the end. Pakistan scored 456, saving the follow-on and more importantly, batting out a lot of time.
The match eventually ended in a draw with Younis Khan scoring a century in the second innings where Pakistan survived 77 overs.