Thursday, July 3, 2008

Asia Cup 2008: Misbah behind Saeed Ajmal

I just wrote about how Misbah looked like the man who could take Pakistan cricket forward.

But then I thought about the dreaded leash that takes away all power and control from the Pakistan captain.

Around Misbah's neck though, it seems to be a bit more loose than it is around Shoaib Malik's or others.

I've heard that it was Misbah who pushed for the selection of Saeed Ajmal in the squad for the Asia Cup.

A number of people, including me, questioned Ajmal's inclusion at the time.

Misbah, however knew what he was doing.

Throughout the Asia Cup Misbah kept pushing for Ajmal's inclusion in the XI but the request kept falling on deaf ears.

Finally the selectors gave in when they sat down to select the XI for the match against India, and aptly so for a match in which Misbah was to captain.

Ajmal repaid the faith placed in him with handy figures of 1-47, the best among Pakistan's bowlers against India last night.

He kept the batsmen tied down, bowled the doosras with aplomb, and didn't allow Dhoni nor the Pathan brothers to take-off during the last 10 overs.

He did a job that Saqlain Mushtaq used to once do for Pakistan - bowl at the death, pick up wickets, and restrict runs.

Saeed Ajmal has been around the Pakistan domestic scene for 11 years having played 72 First Class and 92 List A matches for Faisalabad, where he is originally from.

Many of those matches have been played under Misbah, who has captained Faisalabad for 5 years now.

So Misbah definitely knew what he was doing calling for Ajmal's inclusion in the 15 and then the XI.

What matters here is that the selectors, or moreso the Chairman, listened to Misbah. Something they haven't done with Malik or Lawson.

Does Misbah then command a certain amount of respect and credibility that Malik doesn't?


What also matters here is that Misbah knows who can get the job done and under what circumstances.

Does this then make Misbah the ideal man to lead Pakistan going forward?


Make your pitch on this post...

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12 Pitched:

  1. straight point said...

    when one delivers others have no option but stand in q to praise...

    needless to say i am with you Q...

    its one thing blaming all and sundry for your mess and its another to own the things up...stand up and demand what you want...

    thats what misbah did...with same chairman...same selectors...same setup...malik is 'enjoying' till now...

    hope its just the beginning...

  2. Anonymous said...


    I don't think it is right to say that the selectors have not listened to Malik. On overseas tours the captain selects the playing XI. For so many series the selectors kept selecting Sarfraz Ahmed and Fawad Alam in the squad but they were not given chances. If you think about how disastrous Akmal was for Pakistan in 2006 and 2007, you would think he would be dropped by 2008 but he is still being touted as the first choice keeper because he is on good terms with Malik.

    At the end of the day the playing squad can only hold 15 players or so, if the selectors have slotted a player in the squad there is a lot of risk taking and difficult decisions behind it. They did not select Sarfraz in previous series just so that he could sit in the dugout and daydream about his chances playing for Pakistan.

    So I think we should be fair and not blame the selectors for Malik's decisions. As far as Saeed Ajmal is concerned he is a good spinner with some reputation at domestic level. There are many more spinners like him all around Pakistan. I don't think the current setting of ODI cricket allows for specialist spinners very generously unless they are as able as Muralitharan.

  3. Viswanathan said...


    Are you suggesting that Misbah has the selectors on the leash?

  4. Q said...

    I hope so too SP.

  5. Q said...

    Khansahab - the relationship is both ways, the selectors dont listen to Malik and Malik doesn't listen to them.

    Im not saying either party is right or wrong.

    What I'm saying is that Misbah commands a certain amount of respect that Malik doesn't and that Misbah has a better idea than Malik about the right set of players.

    Misbah will definitely have a better relationship with selectors and Chairman - he looks the sort who can manage the players and the administrators.

  6. Q said...

    Ott - I'm saying he could and the inclusion of Saeed Ajmal is proof of that.

    Not that u need selectors on a leash but u need someone who can identify the right players for the right role and use them in that.

    Misbah did that.

    Its only the first time and we can only hope it wasn't luck but something Misbah had thought out properly.

  7. Anonymous said...


    Sorry if I misunderstood you. Yes I also think Misbah commands more respect than Malik. In many ways he is Malik's opposite which I think comes through in his personality. Looking at Pakistani standards Misbah is well educated. He also has a nice temperament, I think he is the type of guy who is on the good side of everyone. A bit like Rahul Dravid for India.

  8. Q said...

    Khansahab - thats true.. Misbah completed his education (MBA), did a job and then took up cricket in his mid to late 20s so his backgrund is very different from Pakistan's typical cricketers.

    Plus he doesn't have such a big ego like the other big star, maybe because he is vey new to the whole set up, but that goes a long way in making him the likeable personality u talk about.

    His rise has been amazing.

  9. Anonymous said...

    I am not sure if Misbah commands more respect than Malik in the eyes of selectors, IMO the selectors also finally felt the heat and they had to include Ajmal and Jamshed in the team, Malik's ouster helped them.

    But the seniors for sure co-operated more with Misbah than Malik, although Younis since that chairman's email is consistently scoring runs but in the matches against India and Srilanka he was as slow as Malik, and it was surprising to see him bat with so much confidence and authority he normally starts quite slow and after completing 50 throws away his wicket but yesterday he was determined to finish the match.
    His two push ups were hillarious and were only for Malik, he tried to make a statement.
    The success of Misbah or any other captain will only depend on the mood swings of the two Ys and Afridi.

    Osman Samiuddin wrote in his article that its a complete Mystery what makes the Pak seniors tick? he says nobody has the answer.

    I think give them the stick and they will tick, replacement for each and every player should be available and then see everybodies consistency graph will go up.

    I agree with all of you Malik should be removed from captaincy, he has disgraced himself by abandoning his troops in times of adversity.Not worthy of leadership.

  10. Q said...

    Wasim, it was Misbah who had built up the heat on the selectors to include Ajmal.

    As for Nasir, he wouldnt have played if Malik was fit.

    Wasim, I believe Misbah has the ability to inspire the team irrespective of the 2 Ys and Afridi's performance. Only 1 of those 3 performed yesterday. While 1 was not even required.

    I agree Wasim, we need more competition for places like it happens in Australia and is now happening in India - no one has a garanteed place. Who will make way for Sachin?

  11. Anonymous said...


    The selectors were not willing to select Ajmal because they wanted Malik to bowl as an offspinner, Sallu played two legspinners but always refused an offspinner on the pretext that Malik is the off spinner in the team.
    But anyways Malik was a good batsman but not a good captain and he alongwith Afridi has been disrupting the balance of the team, we still cannot include the sixth bowler in the team as you pointed out.

  12. Q said...

    Wasim, its pointless to play 2 leg spinners in an ODI team. It makes no sense so I really don't know why the selectors went for Mansoor Amjad when Afridi is the leggie.

    As for off spinners - u can have as many as u want.

    The 6th bowling option is a must otherwise it disrupts the balance of the team. But right now I just dont know how to make it possible without breaking the Butt-Nasir partnership at the top.

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