Misbah to captain Pakistan in Sydney Test

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Samiuddin: Once Misbah realises he is not worth his place in the side as a batsman, it’s time for him to call it a day

Misbah-ul-Haq will play the third and final Test against Australia and will do so as captain.

After the final-day loss in Melbourne, in which a second-ball duck prolonged a run of low scores for him, Misbah had spoken of the possibility of retirement from Test cricket and had not ruled out the likelihood of doing so before Sydney.

But Pakistan’s management confirmed today he will lead the side out at the SCG on January 3.

“Misbah will play at Sydney and he will be captain,” the PCB’s director (media), Amjad Hussain, said.

Pakistan traveled to Sydney on New Year’s Eve and cancelled training on the first day of the year.

What happens after Sydney is unclear. Pakistan do not play another Test until a series in the Caribbean in April-May 2017.

Misbah’s comments post-Melbourne were the strongest indication that he will step down but he has fallen short of confirming it.

It could be that he waits to arrive back in Pakistan before he announces his decision and it could also be that the result in Sydney, a dead rubber now, could have a role to play in his decision.

Misbah has scored 20 runs in four innings on the tour of Australia so far and the duck in Melbourne brought concerns over his lack of form into the spotlight again. After the match he said there was no point staying in the team if he couldn’t contribute the runs.

“I always believed that if I couldn’t contribute to the team then it’s no point staying there,” Misbah said after Melbourne. “This is a point where I need to think about that, even before the next game [in Sydney] and after the series. Next couple of days I will think about it and decide what to do. There is no point in hanging around and doing nothing.”

Misbah had conceded that he was contemplating retirement during the series against England in the winter of 2015. The prospect of leading the team against India kept him from making that decision but when that series did not materialise, Misbah chose to continue in his role and lead the team in difficult away series.

“I was thinking about my retirement long ago, even when I was playing against England in Dubai,” he said. “I was thinking then that we had possibly Tests against India, so I would play that and that’s it.

“But then we had difficult tours like England, New Zealand and Australia, I thought that is not right time. I’ve been there for last six-seven years, developing this team. I have to face these difficult series. That is why I hung around. Even at that stage my plan was not to play for another two-three years. I have to think about that, haven’t finalised it.”

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