Misbah-ul-Haq wants to lead national side by example

Karachi: To succeed as the Test captain of Pakistan team, it is important to show good form and lead by example to bring out the best out of his colleagues, believes Misbah-ul-Haq.

“I have always believed, that person is the best captain who leads by example and can motivate his players with his own performances,” Misbah said on Saturday.

Misbah was made Test captain yesterday for the coming series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates next month in a shocking decision by the Pakistan Cricket Board who preferred to ignore former captain Younis Khan.

Misbah who was ignored by the national selectors since his poor show in the Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies, said he saw his new job as a big honour as well as a major challenge.

“The most important thing for me is to focus on my own form and get runs because if I am in form then I can also lift the other players in the team,” he said.

Misbah, 36, said he had never given up hope of playing for Pakistan again despite being dropped from the national team in May.

“I am a professional cricketer and my job is to remain fit and in match-form all the time. Even when I was out of the team I kept on training hard because I knew the call could come any day,” he said.

But he admitted that he never expected to get a call to lead the Test team against South Africa.

“I would have been happy just to be recalled for the one-day and T20 series against South Africa but being made Test captain is a big honour for me,” he added.

Interestingly, it appears as if the Board had also not given up on Misbah even while the selectors ignored him because he went to London few months back on the PCB expenses for a hernia operation.

Sources said that PCB chief Ijaz Butt had indicated to Misbah three weeks ago, soon after the Test captain in England Salman Butt was suspended by the ICC for his alleged role in spot fixing, to be prepared for a comeback.

“Misbah himself had started training hard in the last three weeks as if he knew he was going to be called up for national duty,” one source said.

Misbah said he always approached the sport as a professional and didn’t lose hope even when he was dropped.

“Now it is a big challenge for me and I will try my best to deliver as player and captain. I know it is not going to be easy because of the recent controversies that Pakistan cricket team has been through,” Misbah said.

“But I think the spot fixing allegations are now a thing of the past and the best way for us to wipe out the unpleasant memories is to perform well and try to beat South Africa,” he added.

He said his main job would be to first try to lift the morale of each player and try to get them to focus just on cricket.

“The good thing is that we are first playing the limited over matches, so it will give me time to settle down in the team,” he added.