I Can't Say I Have To Play - Misbah

Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan's Test and ODI captain, has said it was not a given that he would lead the side at the 2015 World Cup and a lot depended on whether his batting form improved. Misbah sat out of the third ODI against Australia in the UAE, which Pakistan lost to concede the series 3-0, and Shahid Afridi led the team in his place.

"Yes, I have no other intention," Misbah told The National when asked if he still considered himself Pakistan's full-time ODI captain. "But obviously I will have to see over the next few Tests because form and runs are very important. If I am not scoring runs and my form is not there then I can't say I have to play. The team and Pakistan are first. If I can get my form back and score runs then I will be back but if not, then obviously, you can't put the team in such a difficult situation and you have to decide."

The PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan had said on the day of the third ODI in Abu Dhabi that Misbah had not been asked by the team management to not play, and that the decision was entirely voluntarily. Shaharyar said Misbah still had the board's backing and the decision to continue as captain or not was for him to make.

"I requested the management and Shahid myself that I want to step down," Misbah said. "We have a month and a half of Tests ahead and my form was out, the team was hurting because of it and we had lost the series so I thought fine, let another guy play in my place. Instead of going into the Tests with more pressure I can focus on this little gap now to get a little fresh and hopefully get my form back."

Misbah has averaged only 22.50 in ten ODIs in 2014 and his last five scores before he sat out of the Abu Dhabi game were 13, 36, 18, 0, 15. He has been run-out four times. "Sometimes luck doesn't favour you. Once you are set you get run-out for example - I think in my last eight innings [10] I have been run out four times. Sometimes this happens. I'm not despondent about this and the good thing is that my form overall is ok, even in nets. I am picking it, middling it.

"It depends on your confidence in the team, in the management, in how the board is supporting you," Misbah said when asked if the decision to step aside was a tough one to make. "The situation at this time was such that I felt anyone else who played in my place was better for the team.

"Maybe Afridi could come in with a fresh mind. For the team to win was necessary, by any means and in that scenario I thought I should not play and that Shahid leads and whoever plays in my place could be more of a help. Having that confidence in the players, management and the board, that made it easier for me."

Pakistan are scheduled to play two Tests against Australia in Dubai and Abu Dhabi from October 22 and 30.


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