I’ll assess fitness before WI tour to decide future: Misbah

LAHORE: Emphasising age is not the real factor in sports and brushing aside the retirement talk from some quarters, beleaguered Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq on Thursday said he would assess his physical fitness level prior to the West Indies tour before deciding upon his international career.

“Obviously, some people were waiting to criticise me and finally, after six years they got this chance,” Misbah said while talking to reporters here on Thursday.

“Age does not matter [in sports]; it is the level of physical fitness which helps you to continue playing, and I will not announce my retirement at this stage. First, I will assess my fitness in the [coming] PSL and then in domestic matches for Faisalabad which are to be held before the West Indies tour,” said Misbah when asked whether his age of

42 years was the factor behind some critics seeking his retirement from cricket.

“After checking my fitness level as to where I stand, I will make up my mind about my [playing] future,” the Test captain stated and negated the impression that he was facing any pressure from certain quarters to announce retirement

Pakistan’s Test and ODI teams and their captains are facing severe criticism at home from media as well as former cricketers after the recently-ended disastrous Australia tour during which Misbah’s team were whitewashed 0-3 while the ODI squad were crushed 1-4 in the five-match rubber. Prior to the Australia tour, Pakistan were swept clean 0-2 in the New Zealand Test series.

When asked some cricketers were in favour of wicket-keeper/batsman and national T20 skipper Sarfraz Ahmed named as Test captain too, Misbah was brief and restrained in his response, saying, “It is the domain of the PCB to appoint someone captain.”

Replying to a question who might be his suitable replacement as captain, Misbah avoided taking any name, saying as skipper it would not be appropriate for him to do so.

Reiterating his view on how to address the current woes of Pakistan cricket amid calls for removing the captain, Misbah reckoned changing one person could bring no positive results.

“In fact, we have to correct our cricket structure which has many weaknesses which I pinpointed in the past, too.”

Asked whether he had met PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan or chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq to discuss the option of retirement, Misbah said he did not meet the PCB chief. However, Misbah said he had a meeting with the chief selector during which no discussion on retirement was held.

Misbah also threw his support behind under-fire ODI skipper Azhar Ali — who has led Pakistan to mere 12 wins in 31 matches since being put at the helm in April 2015.

“With just one change [that of skipper] things will not be corrected as there is a need to change the [entire] system,” the Test captain insisted.

“We have abundance of talent but in order to raise this talent up to the international standard we need a very effective system,” Misbah said while repeating his notion on steering Pakistan cricket out of troubled waters.

Meanwhile, Misbah welcomed the PCB’s decision of inviting former cricket greats to a sitting in Lahore on March 6 and 7 to discuss on how to improve in Pakistan cricket which is presently facing a gloomy situation.

Legends like Imran Khan, Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad, Wasim Bari and among several other ex-players have been invited for the said meeting.

About Islamabad United’s chances in the upcoming PSL in which he will lead the defending champions, Misbah said every team would be vying to make the final. “Mine is a well-balanced side to defend the title.”

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