Misbah UL Haq is unlike any other captain Pakistan has ever had. Some people will also go on to say that he is unlike any other player in the history of Pakistan cricket. Making his debut at the age of 27, few individuals would have dared to continue after instantly losing their place in the side in the prime years of their careers. But Misbah was cut from a different cloth, not only did he manage to regain his place in the side several years later; he also managed to stamp his name in the history of Pakistan cricket. Misbah’s career was full of ups and downs and there were critics who to this day feel that his defensive approach had adverse effects on the overall culture of the Pakistan cricket team. Despite the critics, however, Misbah UL Haq is the most successful test captain in the history of Asian and Pakistani cricket.
A lot of hype surrounded his career after the Australian tour. Many critics were calling for Misbah’s retirement from test cricket but the ever-defiant captain didn’t want his illustrious test career to end on a sour note. Misbah decided to represent Pakistan just one last time against West Indies and while Pakistan were favorites to beat a weak West Indian side; the men in green had never managed to win a series in the Caribbean. Misbah had another opportunity to rewrite history and add another feather to his cap.
The series started positively after Pakistan managed to defeat the home side in the first test match. However, all went downhill from there as Pakistan’s batting line-up collapsed in the fourth innings of the second test match with just 81 runs on the board losing the match by 108 runs in the process. The third game started positively when Pakistan managed to secure a strong first innings lead of 129 runs. Pakistan then declared with 174 runs on the board setting up a difficult fourth innings target of 304 for the West Indies to chase on the final day of the match. Very early in the day, it was clear that the momentum was in favor of Pakistan, the team had taken the first six wickets with just 93 runs on the board and few fans were expecting the Windies to put on a fight and save the test match. However, Roston Chase had been in subliminal form throughout the series, the all-rounder had already scored a hundred and wasn’t going to allow the men in green to lift the trophy so easily.
Like everything else he had achieved in his career, Misbah had to put all his heart and soul in order to topple the West Indies. The man, who has had so many ups and downs throughout his career, from the famous scope that caused Pakistan to lose the final of the inaugural edition of the T20 world cup to lifting the test mace in 2016, wasn’t going to go out without a few ups and downs. Soon the momentum of the match shifted and what was looking like an easy victory for Pakistan now turned into a nail-biting contest which was moving towards a draw. It seemed like Roston Chased was possessed by the spirit of Rahul Dravid and for a moment no Pakistani bowler had the answer to break his determination. Then it seemed like Pakistan had finally overcome the final road block when Mohammed Abbas picked up the wicket of Roston Chase however, the replays clearly showed that it was a No-ball. Like so many times in his career, Misbah was being led down by his team members who were making rookie errors. He lost the chance of playing another ODI match because Rahat Ali couldn’t hang on to the simplest of catches. He lost a chance to score his first ODI 100 because Mohammed Irfan failed to survive one ball at the other end and now he was about to lose the chance to end his historic career on a high note because Mohammed Abbas couldn’t keep his foot behind the popping crease. Over after over went by but the Pakistani bowlers were failing to extract any results. Misbah was clearly frustrated, he was looking older than he ever had, and his face clearly bore a look of a hero who had given his everything for Pakistan cricket yet like all the great heroes, Misbah would have to endure the great sorrow of not leaving on a high note.
Just two overs left and Misbah throws the bowl to his most trusted spinner Yasir Shah. The leg-spinner had never let his captain down, Yasir was one of the primary reasons why Misbah had managed to accomplish what no other test captain in the history of Pakistan cricket had achieved but could he deliver for his captain once again. The over begins and Gabriel defends the first three balls without any problems. On the fourth ball Yasir strikes, West Indies reviews, in a series of drama and false finishes the match continues, the fifth bowl Gabriel plays a solid defensive shot into the leg side. Pakistani fans across the world are tensed, it seemed like Misbah will forever remember the one thing he couldn’t achieve but the man who had always managed to come back from all the tough situations in life had one last trick up his sleeve. Misbah brought in all the fielders and as Yasir bowled the delivery, it seemed like the spinner had missed his target, however, in surprising turn of events, Gabriel who had been rock solid up till now went for a big heave over mid-on, the ball caught his edge and smashed the off stump, Pakistan won the match as all the players lifted Misbah and Younis to their shoulders bringing an end to the historic careers of both individuals.
It was, in the end, a little dramatic a little frustrating but perfect end to the career of Misbah who added yet another win to his resume as the test captain of the country. Like his career he came into the match with unfavorable momentum, like his career he defied the momentum to establish himself and his team in a strong position, like his career he was let down by some of his team members however, despite the criticism, despite the roadblocks Misbah Ul Haq took his team to victory and ended his career as the most successful test captain in the history of Asia.