Sunday, June 16, 2013

Misbah's blah average

Coming down the order and plodding along at a low strike rate are what helped Misbah ul Haq end up with the best batting average in the Pakistan team. And now he is pointing a finger at his top order for Pakistan's abject batting in the Champions Trophy. This just doesn't wash. Pakistan's most experienced batsman should have taken on more responsibility, instead of passing the buck. He had to either come up the order to deal with the two new balls and English conditions, or provide an impetus lower down to help the team catch up with the required run rate. He did neither. He was happy to play the martyr, appearing to have the weight of the world on his shoulders, as he went about 'resurrecting' an innings in shambles time after time. What point is such resurrection if the team will anyway end up with a total below 200 that cannot be defended? How does Misbah remaining unbeaten matter if the required run rate is allowed to climb out of reach? It would've been better for Pakistan if Misbah had gone for his shots. They might have still lost all three games, and by an even wider margin, but at least they would have had a crack at winning. The way Misbah batted, they had no chance at all. It's not the Pakistan top order that should be dropped, but Misbah himself for shoring up his average at the cost of the team. Former Pakistan captain Inzamam ul Haq also batted at number five, but he played to win. India's MS Dhoni prefers to come out in the latter half of the innings, but he bats according to the situation in the game and the team's requirement. Misbah should shape up or ship out. The non-performers in the lower middle order, namely Shoaib Malik and Umar Amin, also should be the first to make way for better batting talent.

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