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No replacement for Misbah, says Miandad

Former Pakistan great Javed Miandad has blamed the country’s weak domestic cricket structure for not finding a replacement for 42-year-old test captain Misbah-ul-Haq.

Misbah is Pakistan’s most successful test captain with 24 victories from 53 test matches, losing 18 and drawing 11. The defeats include a 3-0 whitewash at the hands of Australia completed on Saturday as Pakistan lost the third test by 220 runs at Sydney.

Misbah had been Pakistan’s batting mainstay for the past six years but scores of 4, 5, 11, 0, 18 and 38 in six test innings in Australia had led critics to say it was time for him to depart.

“The problem is we don’t have anyone to replace Misbah,” Miandad told The Associated Press on Saturday. “This shows how weak our cricketing structure is.”

Miandad believes the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had not thought about succession.

“Everywhere in the world there’s a system in place and players come and go, but unfortunately we didn’t adopt any such system,” Miandad said.

“Why are we now asking Misbah to leave? Have we prepared any replacement for him? Unfortunately the answer is no and now it’s entirely up to Misbah to decide himself when he wants to quit.”

When Pakistan lost the second test at Melbourne, there was strong speculation that Misbah would retire, perhaps even before the third test. But Misbah led the side in Sydney and even after Saturday’s defeat, he didn’t indicate when he plans to quit test cricket.

Pakistan’s next international assignment is a tour to the West Indies after it organises its domestic Twenty20 league in the United Arab Emirates in March.

“That’s the unfortunate part of Pakistan cricket,” Miandad said. “Misbah knows it very well that there’s nobody who could lead the test side and that’s why he has not yet made up his mind.” Recently, PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan also conceded that he couldn’t see anyone other than Misbah in the short term.

Sydney’s defeat was Pakistan’s 12th test loss in a row in Australia, dating back to 1999.

Miandad said it required special skill and technique to play in Australia.

“I am sorry to say but we don’t have players of such caliber,” Miandad said. “Playing aggressive cricket is the key to success in Australia and we were too defensive in our approach in batting, bowling and fielding.”Former Pakistan cricket heavyweights on Saturday asked Misbah-ul-Haq to call time on his illustrious career, blaming his poor batting and uninspired captaincy for a 3-0 whitewash to Australia.

Misbah, who at 42 is the oldest current international cricketer, capped a miserable series with a 220-run defeat in the third and final Test in Sydney on Saturday, his final score of 38 accounting for half of his entire run-tally (76).

It was Pakistan’s fourth consecutive 3-0 whitewash in Australia since 1999, and their twelfth straight defeat.

After the loss Misbah said he would take his time to decide on the future – a reversal of an earlier announcement that he would quit following the defeat in the second match last week.

But former captain-turned-commentator Ramiz Raja said it was now time for Misbah to move on.

“I think Misbah’s time is up,” he told AFP. “Every sportsman goes through this phase and captain Misbah has offered enough so it’s time to move on.

“I think a captain can only give his best for five years – a period where he gives his maximum – and then his flow chart goes down.

“After that opponents know about his strategies and Misbah has spent that in a glorious way. He has played his innings well to become Pakistan’s most successful skipper,” he added.

Raja, a former CEO of the Pakistan Cricket Board, added that Misbah’s captaincy had taken a sharp turn for the worse in the series, with bizarre field placements and a failure to inspire his charges.

“I think Misbah was let down by his bowling and his field placings were not accurate either,” he said.

Pakistan’s trump card leg-spinner Yasir Shah took only eight wickets in the series, conceding a whooping 672 runs – the most by a bowler in a three-match series.

Raja’s words were echoed by former paceman Wasim Akram.

“It’s not my call but perhaps if I was in his place I would have quit at this point, having achieved so much,” he told AFP.

“When I lost 3-0 in Australia in 1999 I was replaced as captain despite the fact we fought hard in the first two Tests – but a defeat has such consequences,” he added.

Wasim said Younis Khan, Pakistan’s all-time leading Test batsman and a fellow veteran aged 39, had prolonged his career by finally hitting a big score of 175 not out in the final match of the series.

“Before the third Test I was of the opinion that Younis should also go but he batted well and can play for some more time,” he said.

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