Cricket

Misbah-ul-Haq should be considered the best test captain of all-time

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In what has already been a thrilling century of Test match cricket, from the greatest Test series of all-time in England 2005 to the battle to become the number one side in the world between four nations, it has been a cracking decade and a half so far.

But who can claim to be the best leader?

Is it Ricky Ponting, who continued Australian dominance of the sport until 2009?

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Is it Graeme Smith the beefy South African, who took his team to the top and was the grim reaper for England captains?

MS Dhoni, who made India the best in the world?

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Andrew Strauss, for winning in Australia and taking England to the world’s summit?

No. The greatest captain is still playing and his name is Misbah-ul-Haq. The Pakistan leader is far and away the best and here is why:

Anyone can lead a great team. Ponting had it easy when he had one of the best teams of all-time, he just had to toss the ball to one of his two legendary bowlers and sit back and enjoy.

Misbah was tasked to lead Pakistan following the spot-fixing scandal, the darkest moment of any team in the history of the game, whilst also losing his opening batsman and top bowlers.

He faced early criticism and had to contend with the never-ending politics of managing the most volatile team in world cricket.

And through all of this, he has won more Tests than any other Pakistan captain of all-time. Misbah has taken his side overseas, beating New Zealand in 2010/11 and in the subsequent year he led his team to victories over Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

A whitewash of Australia in 2014 meant Misbah had constructed the greatest repair job in cricket history. The impressive victories continued this year, taking a series win in Sri Lanka’s backyard, for the first time in nine years.

As England failed to take revenge for the whitewash they received in 2011 - the last time they travelled to Misbah’s stomping ground - it gave the 41-year-old legendary status.

Misbah has also led his country in their adopted home away from home in the United Arab Emirates. But, remarkably they have never been defeated and importantly, never lost heart. Often playing to empty grounds, the captain’s job to motivate his players is made even harder, especially in the toiling conditions.

Amazingly, Misbah is also a record holder. He is often seen as a man to play within a shell and bring a calmness around the carnage around him. The captain has the joint-fastest hundred in Test match history and has hit the most sixes, 67 from just 61 matches in Pakistani records, all of this with an average pushing 50.

Misbah's business management degree might be what has allowed him to turn the tide for Pakistani cricket from its lowest ebb, into a top three team in Test cricket.

Either way it is a remarkable achievement and surely makes him the greatest captain this century has seen, so far.

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Topics:
Cricket
Pakistan cricket

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