Islamabad: Pakistan Test skipper Misbah-ul-Haq has proved his critics wrong by performing “very well” and leading from the front in the recent series against South Africa played in the UAE, national team manager and former coach Intikhab Alam has said.
“There was a lot of criticism of Misbah’s appointment as captain for the series versus South Africa, but he has performed very well. He has led from the front and he has answered the critics accordingly,” a website quoted Intikhab, as saying.
“He has done a very good job and he has shown that he was the right choice and above all, a good choice. I would say that he has done more than enough to be appointed captain for the forthcoming series in New Zealand,” he added.
In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the Pakistan batsmen stood firm against a persistent and experienced South African bowling line-up. Experienced batsmen Misbah-ul-Haq and Younus Khan were well supported by inexperienced players such as Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq, and openers Taufeeq Umar and Mohammad Hafeez, who were both making test comebacks.
Intikhab was full of praise for the Pakistan batsmen, in particular Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali, for whom he predicted a very bright future.
“Asad Shafiq looks like a very good batsman. Already he is showing a lot of promise. Technically he is very good and over the passage of time, I fully expect him to get even better,” the team manager said.
“Regarding Azhar Ali, his temperament is very good. He is very relaxed at the crease and handles pressure very well and is showing maturity even at such an early stage in his international career. He (Azhar) is another of the up and coming batsmen in Pakistan who is displaying a good solid technique that is ideal for Test cricket,” he added.
The only negative aspect of the batting display against South Africa being the failure of Umar Akmal in the first Test, Intikhab had words of advice and encouragement for Umar, hoping that he would take on board the advice that he was being offered.
“Umar has a lot of talent, he has a bright future ahead of him, but he needs to bring a degree of discipline into his game. He needs to prove himself to everyone. He needs to learn from his mistakes and to ensure that his shot selection improves. I also think that he needs to work on his fitness and ensure that he is much fitter than what he currently is,” the former coach opined.
Intikhab felt that the tour of New Zealand would provide the young Pakistan batsmen with an entirely different challenge.
“The wickets in New Zealand will undoubtedly be different to what our batsmen have played on in the UAE. It will be a good test, a different kind of challenge, but I’m confident that the batsmen will do well,” he said.