Misbah mulls retirement after England series

Lahore, October 2

Pakistan Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq said on Friday he was mulling retirement after the upcoming Pakistan-England series, saying he hoped to leave the game on a high.

The 41-year-old said the series against England could be his last. “I haven’t taken a final decision,” Misbah told media, adding that he was considering his options.

Misbah retired from T20 in 2012 and left the ODI game after Pakistan’s quarter-final finish in the 2015 WC in Australia and New Zealand in March. He said he wanted to leave Test cricket with “good memories”. He said, “People remember your final performance.”

The unassuming middle-order batsman will be remembered for his admirable leadership of Pakistan in the aftermath of the 2010 spot-fixing scandal which resulted in five-year bans for Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir.

Last month Misbah had announced he will retire after an upcoming series against India, but the December-January contest is in serious doubt due to tensions between the arch-rivals. Pakistan take on the Ashes-winning England team in a three-Test series in the UAE starting in Abu Dhabi from October 13.

Misbah warned the conditions in the UAE will be challenging for England. “This English team has done well in the Ashes,” he said. “But they do not have experience of UAE conditions and that will be a big challenge for them.”

He refused to be drawn on the prospect of another 3-0 rout of the Lions, such as the one in the UAE under his captaincy three years ago. “We have to take it match by match, session by session and once you win sessions you go towards the bigger goals,” he said. “We are not thinking of 3-0, England is a top team and we have to play well and think how to tackle them.”

When asked if Pakistan would miss Saeed Ajmal — one of the architects of the 2012 rout with 24 wickets — Misbah said Pakistan have replacements in leg-spinner Yasir Shah and left-armer Zulfiqar Babar. “Shah and Babar are doing extraordinarily well and that’s a big plus, so they haven’t made us feel anyone’s absence,” said Misbah.

Ajmal was not selected for series after he struggled with a remodelled bowling action required to overcome suspension. He was suspended for illegal action by International Cricket Council last year.