Fair bit of time to decide on future – Misbah

Misbah-ul-Haq has averaged 12.66 in six innings on the tour of Australia © AFP

Misbah-ul-Haq, 42, will not be hurried into making a decision on his future, even after another questionable bit of decision-making with the bat on the final day of the Test series against Australia in Sydney.

Misbah batted with greater assurance than at any point on tour, battling through to 38 in nearly three hours. It was a more familiar Misbah innings, long periods of resolute defending punctured by an occasional aggressive shot.

In the process, he kept Pakistan’s prospects of escaping with a draw alive but in trying to hit Steve O’Keefe over a legside boundary, he sliced a leading edge to Nathan Lyon at cover. It was the latest in a series of poor shots that have led to Misbah’s dismissal at a time when his team needed him to play a long innings. In this Test alone, he has been caught slogging off a spinner twice.

In the aftermath of Pakistan’s last-day collapse and subsequent defeat in the second Test, that error in decision-making had led him to the verge of retirement; so despondent was he at the time, he said he could quit even before the third Test. Instead, after a brief period of reflection and on the advice of team-mates and coaches, he put off the decision and went on to play this Test.

“About my future, there is a fair bit of time,” he said. “We go back [to Pakistan], there is a bit of time off, there is a month in which this ODI series happens. Then there is the PSL [Pakistan Super League, where he is captaining the defending champions Islamabad United]. So I think there is time to sit down easily and think about whatever decision I am going to make.”

Misbah had similarly put aside a decision to retire after a defeat of England in the UAE in 2015-16. Then, with a long gap between Pakistan’s Test commitments, the PCB were able to convince him to keep playing.

Misbah has plenty of time for reflection again as Pakistan ponder a fairly light Test schedule. They have a series in West Indies in March-April before a summer trip to Bangladesh and then a series in the UAE with Sri Lanka. At one stage during this Test, news began circulating he was considering an offer from a Sydney side to play in the Big Bash League but that is no longer on the cards.

The decision to continue playing for Pakistan or call time on his career may come down to how much confidence Misbah has in his own batting. It was the lack of it that led him to consider walking away in Melbourne and it was brought up again in Sydney, where he ended the series averaging 12.66.

“In cricket, confidence plays a huge role,” he said. “If you are scoring runs and get a good start, then it is easier for you. When you come to new conditions, the first few innings are very important. It didn’t happen here.

“In New Zealand also there weren’t runs. I think that shortage of confidence stayed through the series. When you get under pressure, you make these mistakes, you make these decisions to hit shots that you shouldn’t hit. That was there throughout.”

Osman Samiuddin is a senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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