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The Villain Who Turned into A Hero

The Pakistani side has gone through the downfall for many of the times in last twenty years after being the most dominant team in 1990’s. Pakistan was led by a brave captain like Imran Khan, who never gave up and even fought till the end when it was clear that they can not win. Imran Khan was more like an Alpha of a wolf pack. He himself cared much about the fitness and training of the squad than the coaches or physiotherapist. He wanted his team to be like him and to forget the word ”Impossible”. Clearly Imran Khan is one of the greatest captain in the history of cricket. His qualities are unmatched with many of the captains till now. Once a journalist said ” Imran Standing on the field was enough to dominate the opposition”. Imran Khan was without any doubt the most feared gentleman in the game of cricket in 1980s and 90s.

Wasim Akram in a ceremony few months ago said that he remembers that before World Cup 1992 everyday was a practice day and Imran Khan even did the fielding drills with the team in the car parking of a hotel in Sydney. Aamer Sohail, Rashid Latif, Rameez Raja, Moin Khan and many other were the captain after Imran Khan but the most prominent of them was Wasim Akram. Imran Khan had a vision which was later transformed to Wasim Akram. But it was clear that no one can take Pakistani team forward like Imran Khan did; Wasim had his own qualities. The bowling was more dominant than the batting and many bowlers emerged from the country as well. The Wasim-Waqar dou became more dominant. But on the other side the depth of Pakistan’s batting was getting low day by day and surprisingly it was not noticed mostly because of the match winning performances by the bowler. Even though with some batting errors in the top order, Mohammad Yousuf, Inzamam Ul-Haq and Saeed Anwar led the batting charge themselves and today they are known to be one of the greats to ever represent the Pakistani side. And then later with the rise of the name of Shahid Afridi, Pakistan got that consistency in batting as well. With a great all-rounder like Abdul Razzaq and some senior players, Pakistan really turned out to be one of the best team in the world again. Having some unbelievable performances in England, Australia and India. Pakistan also went onto scoring 300+ many of the times back then.

After Wasim Akram’s resignation, Waqar Younis was announced as the Captain in World Cup 2003 which was one of the most frustrating tournament in the history of Pakistan’s cricket, without even going through the group stages. In a way even after Wasim and Waqar’s captaincy, Pakistan’s next captain was still a student of Imran Khan. These 3 played under him and he groomed them to be one of the greats and they had many qualities to lead a side. Inzamam was the captain. Things were quite balanced and he turned out to be a good Captain, fighting for his nation and defending his teams at every point. Once Pakistani team was accused by the umpire for ball tempering during the match at Oval. Inzamam defended his team bravely and walked of the field because he thinks his team was being accused for something which never took place. Inzamam was not just a good player but a good person who was emotionally attached with his team and gave die hard efforts many of the times. Unfortunately his career did not end the way everyone wanted it to be due to the certain death of the great coach, Bob Woolmer, who played a great role in reforming Pakistani team. Inzamam was grieved and announced his retirement later from International cricket. That was the end for the class of Imran Khan. That was the start of a new era, where Pakistan required a new leader to inspire next generations.

Now, Pakistan did not exactly get what they wanted. Mohammed Yousaf was the captain but he resigned from captaincy in the middle of series in Australia. Younis Khan also resigned after a short period, After winning World Cup T20 2009. Even Shoaib Malik resigned from captaincy within two years despite of having an impressive record. Shahid Afridi was given the charge of the shorter formats while Salman Butt was announced as the captain of Pakistani test team. At one side Shahid Afridi with the help of bowlers like Amir, Asif, Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal were giving outstanding performances on foreign conditions in T20Is and ODIs, Salman Butt defamed Pakistan after being involved in match fixing and forcing Amir to do it as well. Pakistan lost the status it had in cricket. Pakistan was going through a disaster. Pakistan lost all the respect built in all those years. First the attack on Sri Lankan team in Lahore and then spot-fixing scandal. The cricket board of Pakistan was backed up by none and had critical relations with other cricket nations then, despite of having friendly intentions. Misbah Ul-Haq was announced as the test captain, a person who was not even in the test squad by that time. The next year, Shahid Afridi resigned from captaincy and Misbah was appointed as the Captain of all formats.

Now, here’s the scenario of Misbah. The critics started criticizing him the moment he was appointed as the Captain. He was judged for one bad shot in the t20 World Cup 2007 final but, no one saw Misbah was the one who helped Pakistan to get there. No one talked about how patient he was but sadly, some former players ended up calling him ‘‘Stupid, Idiot and Abnormal”. He was criticized for his defensive mindset but no one appreciated even once for his services and the way he took a team which was defamed all over the world, which was tagged with a bad tag. And he did not really care much of all that and represented his nation all over the world with a calm mind and believing in his team. His approach was to make Pakistan a decent team. He many of the times overturned the impossible, playing away from his home. He defended his team at every stage and sometimes was the last man to stand at the crease. Over the years Misbah never got a chance to scored an ODI century. He was once 93 not out and once 96 not out in which only 40-50 runs were scored by rest of the team. He was called selfish but no one ever saw the silent disappointment on his face after negative result. No one ever saw that no one in the history of Pakistan has continued to captain the Pakistani side after a lot of pressure, criticism and bad results but Misbah carried on quietly for seven years. Even playing in the age of 42, he ran like all over the field and ran in the middle of the pitch. After all the hard work and becoming the first Pakistani captain to get the Test Mace. Even though after countless efforts, The man never took the credit and played with his heart. Misbah, The hero who does not wear the cape. Misbah is now the most successful captain for Pakistan in the test format and he will retire on 14th May, 2017, Playing his last test. Misbah will be a role model for many of the next generations.

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