Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq has hit back at Ian Chappell’s criticisms of Pakistan, saying they were “uncalled for and unbecoming” of someone with Chappell’s stature in the game.
Speaking to ESPNcricinfo minutes after Pakistan lost the third and final Test of the series in Sydney – their 12th successive Test loss in the country over 17 years – Chappell had said Cricket Australia should reconsider the utility of a future Pakistan tour to the country.
“Pakistan have now lost 12 Test matches on the trot in Australia, and somebody’s got to give them a kick up the bum,” Chappell had said. “Cricket Australia have got to start saying ‘listen if things don’t improve we will stop with the invites’.
“You can’t continue to [play poor] cricket. You can’t bowl poorly, have conservative field placings and field sloppily and expect to play decent cricket in Australia.”
Writing in his column for cricket.com.au, Misbah, whose captaincy bore the brunt of further criticism, asked whether Australia’s abysmal recent record in Asia warranted a similar rethink.
Australia have lost their last nine Tests in a row in India, the UAE and Sri Lanka; since 2008 they have lost 13 of their 18 Tests in Asia and won only one.
“The comments do not make any sense or suit a cricketer of his stature,” Misbah wrote. “Australia themselves have been on the losing side in the recent away tours. They were clean swept by a Sri Lanka side that did not have Mahela Jayawardena or Kumar Sangakkara and some of their players didn’t even have 10 Tests to their names.
“Then Australia lost the one-day international series 0-5 in South Africa. In the recent past they have been whitewashed by us in the UAE and in India. If we apply Chappell’s comments to Australia, does that mean if they continue to get whitewashed on the subcontinent on a regular basis then they should also not travel there? And if Australia does not travel to Asia or the Asian teams do no travel to Australia then how are they going to improve?”
Misbah has come under pressure at home as well, though in this case for comments he made post-match in Sydney. Asked whether he felt his team represented the best chance Pakistan had in Australia to reverse the long run of defeats, Misbah had said, “Yes, you can say, but in ’99 when Pakistan came, I think that was one of the strongest teams ever, strongest bowling attack, in terms of experience, in terms of the batting, so many superstars in that team. We lost then as well. ”
That side, led by Wasim Akram, counted Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar, Saqlain Mushtaq and Mushtaq Ahmed among its attack; Saeed Anwar, Mohammad Yousuf, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Ijaz Ahmed were part of the batting order.
The Australian side that whitewashed them was soon to become one of the greatest in Test history, though some might argue that that Pakistan side was past its peak.
Misbah’s comments, however, have been construed as an attack on the 1999 side. It has forced him to issue a clarification on Twitter, unusual for him and also indicative of the pressure he is under to retire from Test cricket.
“My reply was that 99 team was our best team,” Misbah tweeted. “My aim wasn’t to disrespect them. I wasn’t trying to use them as an excuse. They’re our legends… have nothing but respect for the 1999 team. @wasimakramlive who was captain then, is someone who I’ve worked with, & has helped me a lot”.
In his column, Misbah said he was taking a “time-out” from the discussion about when he goes. “I want to spend some time at home and then play in the PSL. I will then analyse how much passion for cricket I have left in me and whether I can play on… The PSL will be important for me in making a decision on my international future.”