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  1. #1
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    "Mickey Arthur's hard decisions are paying off" : Misbah-ul-Haq

    The final moments of Pakistan’s last Test of the 2017 tour of the West Indies will be etched in many minds as they marked the last time the two stalwarts of Pakistan cricket, Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan were seen in an international match for Pakistan.

    It was largely felt that Pakistan would struggle immensely without the services of the two master technicians who had been the backbone of their side’s batting for many years. And for a while, especially after the stinging 2-0 Test series whitewash against Sri Lanka, it appeared that the forecast of tough times ahead especially in Tests could become a reality.

    However, the Pakistan Test side’s performance on the tour of Ireland and England seems to be a harbinger of better times ahead. The feel-good factor and the positivity gushing out from the recent performances by Sarfaraz Ahmed’s men across all formats has won great admiration from all quarters, and especially from the former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq who in an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net showered praise on the new-look Pakistan side.




    “Overall our team is doing very well, and I am especially impressed by the way some of the newer guys are performing at the international level. It's also heartening to see that the team is winning more frequently with youngsters like Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam doing really well. We then have the likes of Imam-ul-Haq who has scored 4 hundreds in just 9 ODI innings which is a great achievement. The bowlers, for their part, are also doing well and here I would give a special mention to Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali and Usman Khan Shinwari – each of whom has been exceptional in their roles. All of these factors point to good times ahead for Pakistan cricket.”

    Pakistan’s success in the Champions Trophy was one that suddenly made the world of cricket sit up and take notice of a side which in the recent past had promised much but largely failed to deliver. For the former Pakistan captain, the new-found confidence of this young Pakistan team is nothing but a direct benefit of the Pakistan Super League.

    “I believe that the rise of the younger players has a lot to do with the PSL. We always knew that countries with their own T20 leagues such as India where the players were getting a great opportunity to play alongside top players, were doing well at the international level. Our guys, on the contrary, were not getting that sort of exposure in high-pressure conditions. On top of that, the gap between normal domestic cricket and the international level was too huge and that problem needed to be addressed properly. Thankfully, with 3 years of the PSL tournament now under our belts, we can see the difference in the way the Pakistani youngsters are performing in a confident manner and adapting so well at the international level.”

    There is little doubt about the fact that any side which possesses talented players such as Shadab Khan or Faheem Ashraf has the right to feel confident for its future and in the experienced eyes of Misbah-ul-Haq, it is simply the exuberance of youth which is making a huge difference to Pakistan’s fortunes in international cricket.

    “In today’s cricket you need the sort of energy that youngsters like Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf bring to the table. They also have a fearless attitude about them and they take on the opposition as if there was no pressure on them, and they enjoy the game which is another crucial factor in their excellent performances at the international level. I strongly feel that the morale as well as the body language of the team has been lifted due to the presence of these young players and hopefully this will continue to be the case in the future.”

    Pakistan’s recent tour of Zimbabwe was a satisfactory one for the manner in which the side executed their game-plans in a ruthless manner, disposing of Australia and Zimbabwe in the T20I tri-series and then going on to decimate the hosts in the ODI series. Along the way, Pakistan’s new crop of players showed exactly why they are regarded so highly in international cricket. To those including Misbah-ul-Haq who saw Fakhar Zaman’s brilliance during this series, it was clear that the left-hander brings something special to the Pakistan team, perhaps something they have not had since the days of Saeed Anwar.

    “If we go back to 2017, it was Fakhar Zaman’s inclusion in the team and his performances in the Champions Trophy which really made a huge difference after the team was under pressure due to a heavy loss in the first game against India. He was picked for the second game against South Africa and he pretty much changed the whole scenario for Pakistan in that tournament. The whole attitude and body language of the team was different after that game. I do believe that players like Fakhar bring something special to the team as such a player just goes into the team with confidence and expresses himself and plays his natural game, which in turn inspires the whole team to do better as well. This was exactly what was missing from the Pakistan team for quite some time and Fakhar is making a huge difference for the better with his attitude.”

    With 333 international appearances to his name where he has scored 11,224 runs for Pakistan, 37-year-old Mohammad Hafeez has been a bed-rock of Pakistan sides for many years. His exclusion from the Pakistan team which played the ODIs in Zimbabwe surprised many, including his previous captain Misbah-ul-Haq.

    “This must be a very disappointing time for an experienced and senior player like Mohammad Hafeez as he was not included in any game during the ODI series against Zimbabwe, despite having played some memorable knocks in the past for Pakistan including the one in the Champions Trophy final as well as a few others on the tour of New Zealand. But after that he has failed to become a regular in the Pakistan ODI and T20I squads. I suppose now, it’s up to the Head Coach, Captain and management to decide how they wish to use him in the future as this is clearly a difficult time for Mohammad Hafeez.”

    Whilst the Head Coach Mickey Arthur has faced criticism from some quarters during his tenure with the Pakistan side, there is a no denying the fact that he has also brought a new sense of professionalism to a side not readily known for this quality in the past. Results such as the Champions Trophy win as well as Pakistan’s excellent standings in the ICC rankings in the shorter formats have also won him plaudits for his handling of the team and to Misbah-ul-Haq, no praise is good enough for what Mickey Arthur has achieved for the side as he explained, “I think Mickey Arthur has done an excellent job in creating a side with so many youngsters settling in well into a team where there is a great emphasis on a culture of discipline and where fitness is an important factor as well. Along the way, he has had to take some hard decisions and looking at the recent results, they are all paying off for the benefit of Pakistan cricket.”

    With England and India now involved in an enthralling battle for supremacy in the ongoing 5-match Test series, the performance of one of the world’s top batsmen Virat Kohli will be watched as a matter of great interest. To a batsman like Misbah-ul-Haq who was once considered the pillar of stability for his side, there is little doubt about what Virat Kohli brings to his side and to international cricket as a whole.

    “I feel that Virat Kohli is a wonderful player and I do not think that there is anyone who can argue with that. He performs equally well in all three formats of the game and his batting talent is complemented by his attitude and approach to the game which is second to none. He seems to enjoy his game and is a top batsman at the international level who has already achieved so much but rest assured, he will break some more records in the future too.”

    Whilst Virat Kohli’s success on the field appears to be intertwined with his team’s fortunes, it would also be fair to say that India do possess enough talent which England may find difficult to counter in the ongoing Test series. The likes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad may well be big names in cricket, but the fact is that they will be facing a much younger Indian side during this series. To Misbah-ul-Haq, however, it's more about the current form of the sides rather than age that will have a bigger say in the final outcome of this Test series.

    “I believe that more than the comparative ages of the players in both teams, the result of the Test series will be dependent upon the form of both sides. In that sense, India has been in good form in recent times if we consider the way they recently played against South Africa and the form of their players in other formats of the game. The Indian batsmen are looking in good touch and they have the confidence as they know that their team has the services of some excellent seamers in their bowling line-up with the likes of Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav who are likely to enjoy the swinging and seaming conditions in England. They also have an excellent all-rounder in the shape of Hardik Pandya so they have a good balance in the team which will give them a good chance of victory in this series.”

    Whilst England may well enjoy superiority due to playing on their home-turf, it is also true that ICC’s top-ranked Test team visiting the shores of the United Kingdom is quite easily capable of holding their own and springing a few surprises on the hosts. To Misbah-ul-Haq who lead his team on the tour of England in 2016, India’s recent results and their talent are perfect recipes for a victorious tour of England, “I think it will be good competition between two excellent sides. In India’s case, if one looks at the way they played against South Africa in the Test series, it is clear that this is not the same sort of weak Indian team which has visited England in the past. Whilst England may have home advantage, we know that some of their top batsmen have been struggling which makes me think that India have a very good chance to win this series,” he concluded.
    Last edited by Abdullah719; 3rd August 2018 at 19:36.


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  2. #2
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    The only place for Hafeez is OUT of team Pakistan. Misbah you carried so called seniors hafeez, afridi, zulfiqar. Kept playing shezad and akmal.

    Misbah should realize we have made some progress by moving on, hafeez clearly doesnt merit a place anymore.

  3. #3
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    One of the best captains Pakistan has ever had; He needs to be involved in Pakistan Cricket asap by the PCB.


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  4. #4
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    Misbah credits PSL for rise of youngsters

    Former Pakistan captain Misbahul Haq is of the opinion that Pakistan Super League (PSL) has played a key role in the rise of young cricketers.

    Misbah — who scored over 11,000 international runs for Pakistan — believes featuring alongside leading cricketers has helped immensely in development of young players in the country.

    “I believe that the rise of the younger players has a lot to do with the PSL,” said Misbah while talking to PakPassion. “We always knew that countries with their own T20 leagues such as India, where the players were getting a great opportunity to play alongside top players, were doing well at the international level.”
    The 44-year-old added that the gap between domestic cricket and international cricket — in terms of exposure — has been bridged significantly after three editions of PSL.

    “Our guys, on the contrary, were not getting that sort of exposure in high-pressure conditions,” he said. “On top of that, the gap between normal domestic cricket and the international level was too huge and that problem needed to be addressed properly. Thankfully, with three years of the PSL tournament now under our belts, we can see the difference in the way the Pakistani youngsters are performing in a confident manner and adapting so well at the international level.”

    Misbah also pointed out that the change in morale and body language of the side — due to the exuberance of youth — is playing a pivotal role in the team’s success and hoped that the same trend will continue in the future.

    “In today’s cricket, you need the sort of energy youngsters like Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf bring to the table,” said Misbah. “They have a fearless attitude and they take on the opposition as if there was no pressure on them. They enjoy the game which is another crucial factor in their excellent performances at the international level. I strongly feel that the morale as well as the body language of the team has been lifted due to the presence of these youngsters and hopefully this will continue to be the case in the future.”

    Misbah further went on to praise head coach Mickey Arthur for taking stiff decisions for the sake of Pakistan cricket which have reaped rewards in shape of better fitness levels and a well-disciplined side.

    “I think Mickey Arthur has done an excellent job in creating a side with so many youngsters settling in well into a team where there is a great emphasis on a culture of discipline and where fitness is an important factor as well,” he said. “Along the way, he has had to take some hard decisions and looking at the recent results, they are all paying off for the benefit of Pakistan cricket.”

    Mohammad Hafeez — who has represented Pakistan in 50 Tests, 200 ODIs and 83 T20Is, where he scored 11,224 runs and claimed 239 wickets — was snubbed from the side for the recently concluded five-match ODI series against Zimbabwe and speaking on the issue, Misbah said that this situation must be very difficult for veteran all-rounder and believes it now up to Arthur, captain Sarfraz Ahmed and team management to make a call on his future.

    “This must be a very disappointing time for an experienced and senior player like Mohammad Hafeez as he was not included in any game during the ODI series against Zimbabwe, despite having played some memorable knocks in the past for Pakistan including the one in the Champions Trophy final as well as a few others on the tour of New Zealand,” he said. “But after that he has failed to become a regular in the Pakistan ODI and T20I squads. I suppose now, it’s up to the coach, captain and management to decide how they wish to use him in the future as this is clearly a difficult time for Hafeez.”

    https://tribune.com.pk/story/1773207...se-youngsters/


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  5. #5
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    "Et tu, Misbah?"

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    One of the best captains Pakistan has ever had; He needs to be involved in Pakistan Cricket asap by the PCB.
    No he should be kept away from PCB as far as possible. YES men like him are the reason behind PCB's failures.

  7. #7
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    You were one of those decisions.

  8. #8
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    Talks sensible as always

    Hoping that he is the future Chairman of the PCB, educated and has played cricket.

  9. #9
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    Thank goodness Fakhar Zaman came after Misbah's retirement and was unaffected by Misbah's play slow mentality

  10. #10
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    He may be a decent and educated man but he is not fit for the role of administration.

    He lacks conviction and courage which was evident from his tenure as captain. He is a great man-manager and should instead focus on developing the next set of rudimentary young batsman.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Savak View Post
    Thank goodness Fakhar Zaman came after Misbah's retirement and was unaffected by Misbah's play slow mentality
    Sharjeel debuted and played under Misbah, why wasn't he affected by Misbah's play slow mentality?

  12. #12
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    Credit to Misbah who actually introduced most of our new players.

    Shadab, Talat, Sharjeel, another couple of players I'm forgetting.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Generico View Post
    Sharjeel debuted and played under Misbah, why wasn't he affected by Misbah's play slow mentality?
    Sharjeel never got consistent chances under Misbah.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkeye View Post
    Credit to Misbah who actually introduced most of our new players.

    Shadab, Talat, Sharjeel, another couple of players I'm forgetting.
    They were introduced by PSL and A team performances.

  15. #15
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    A very respectable captain but has always had a preference for giving first chances to players who were at the ripe age of 29-31. There was a steady decline in our ODI cricket under Misbah and this was due to him changing our style of play, it was like watching Arsenal play like Chelsea (parking the bus) and it did not suit us. We relied too much on trying to bowl all 50 overs when bowling second to win games with at least 4 spinners and we've lost too many games that we should've went on to win. Young talented players are the way forward.

  16. #16
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    The Hafeez scenario is an interesting one. In Pakistan cricket over the years there has been a loyalty towards senior players who have been around for a number of years. However Mickey is trying to remove that culture - let's see how this goes. At the moment Mickey is putting his foot down and it's working.



  17. #17
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    Some interesting comments.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    One of the best captains Pakistan has ever had; He needs to be involved in Pakistan Cricket asap by the PCB.
    Please no. I am quite enjoying watching these youngsters.
    I don't want to go back to watching a team filled with 35 year olds

  19. #19
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    Arthur has been a breath of fresh air. No baggage, no affiliation to any players.

    He's doing a fantastic job and long may it continue.



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    Arthur has been a breath of fresh air. No baggage, no affiliation to any players.

    He's doing a fantastic job and long may it continue.
    Would he want to continue? He could easily be tempted by another offer from another country

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Savak View Post
    Would he want to continue? He could easily be tempted by another offer from another country
    True and that's why PCB need to extend his contract asap.



  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    The Hafeez scenario is an interesting one. In Pakistan cricket over the years there has been a loyalty towards senior players who have been around for a number of years. However Mickey is trying to remove that culture - let's see how this goes. At the moment Mickey is putting his foot down and it's working.
    But its different this time. Hafeez is more of consistent batter and he can also bowl. Among the new bunch of all-rounders, no one is ready to take the crown off from him. I think Mickey will be compromising in this case unless he stops performing (like in recent times).

  23. #23
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    Arthur has emotionally invested too much in Pakistan cricket to go for another job any time soon. I have seen few coaches care as much as Arthur does. I think he will happily stick around for years.

  24. #24
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    Kept it diplomatic in regards to his response with Hafeez's exclusion, but we all know if it was him who was captain today, Hafeez would have been given free ride under his leadership.

    Misbah made a mess of the ODI team alongside with Waqar Younis and it would have spelled further disaster if he was made to be PCB Chairman or even a cricket administrator despite holding a MBA because he isn't a courageous leader but merely a "yes man".

    On the positive side it's good to see him give M.Arthur credit he's due unlike the some of our bitter old ex players like Miandad & Qadir, and liked how he recognised PSL has reduced the gap between domestic limited overs cricket and LOIs. In addition it was nice of him to acknowledge Pandya which will be a slap in the face to his armchair critics on PP.
    Last edited by topspin; 28th August 2018 at 19:56.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamoon View Post
    Arthur has emotionally invested too much in Pakistan cricket to go for another job any time soon. I have seen few coaches care as much as Arthur does. I think he will happily stick around for years.
    I hope you're right but what if say BCCI (who I can see removing Shashtri) come up with a big offer - say at least triple the salary offered.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspin View Post
    I hope you're right but what if say BCCI (who I can see removing Shashtri) come up with a big offer - say at least triple the salary offered.
    Of course everyone has a price, but BCCI would not pay over the top for a head coach. Kohli calls the shots and they would not want a coach who could be in conflict with him. I think the next coach would be Dravid, and there is enough mutual respect between the two for the ship to sail smoothly.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeusathon View Post
    But its different this time. Hafeez is more of consistent batter and he can also bowl. Among the new bunch of all-rounders, no one is ready to take the crown off from him. I think Mickey will be compromising in this case unless he stops performing (like in recent times).
    Mickey is making an example of Hafeez and showing the other players that if you play with fire your fingers can get burnt.




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