Mighty Misbah becomes first Pakistani to lead 50 Tests


KARACHI: Pakistan’s most successful Test captain Misbah ul Haq added another feather to his cap on Friday as he led his team into the first Test in Christchurch against New Zealand. He is now the first Pakistani and only third Asian to complete half-century of Test matches as captain.

The Pakistan team celebrated Captain Misbah’s achievement by cutting a cake in the dressing room following the close of Friday’s play at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

Misbah was named Pakistan’s captain in October 2010 and his immediate task was to regroup the team after a disastrous tour to England where three of Pakistani cricketers – Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir – were caught bowling pre-decided no-balls.

Since then, Misbah has led Pakistan in 50 Test matches. Of the 49 Tests prior to the ongoing Test in Christchurch, under his leadership Pakistan won 24 Tests, the most by any Pakistani captain. Misbah’s predecessor in the list of captains winning most matches for Pakistan, Imran Khan, could win only 14 Tests as captain.

Misbah is only the third Asian captain to lead a team in 50 or more Test matches; two others from Asia to lead their teams in 50 or more Tests are India’s MS Dhoni (60 Tests) and Sri Lanka’s Arjuna Ranatunga (56 Tests).

This October, Misbah ul Haq completed six years as Pakistan’s Test captain. During this period of six years under Misbah’s leadership, Pakistan’s win-loss ratio is 1.71 with 24 wins, 14 defeats and 11 draws in 49 games. The six-year period before Misbah saw Pakistan being inconsistent with team’s captaincy as it tested six different captains and during that period (six years before Misbah) Pakistan only 13 out of 50 Tests, with win-loss ratio of 0.565.

Last month, Misbah led Pakistan to 10th series win (2-1 win against West Indies) under his leadership, which also made him most successful Test captain from Asia, in terms of winning series, as he surpassed Indian duo of MS Dhoni and Saurav Ganguly.

Of all captains who have batted in at least 20 innings as captain, Misbah has scored 3,823 runs, which is the most by any Asian captain and 10th most by any captain. Next from Asia after Misbah is MS Dhoni, who scored 3454 runs as captain.

As captain Misbah has played 40 knocks of 50 or more (8 centuries and 32 half centuries) as captain, the most by any Asian and 5th most by any captain. India’s MS Dhoni scored 29 scores of 50 or more in 60 Tests as captain. The list of captains with most number of 50+ scores is led by South Africa’s Graeme Smith with 61 scores of 50 or more, followed by RT Ponting (54), AR Border (51) and Clive Lloyd (41).

At the age of 42 years and 173 days, Misbah is also sixth oldest ever, and oldest in last 68 years, to lead any Test side. Misbah had already celebrated his 36th birthday when he was named Pakistan’s captain, he was 36 years and 168 days old when he walked in to lead his first Test match, jointly oldest Pakistani to make captaincy debut, along with Asif Iqbal.

Misbah, as captain, scored 3,823 runs after his 36th birthday, which is the most by any captain after celebrating 36th birth anniversary. This is also second most aggregate total by a player after celebrating 366th birthday, only to score more runs than Misbah after turning 36 is England’s Graham Gooch who scored 4210 runs.

(Note: all the batting stats are calculated before Pakistan’s innings at Christchurch Test, 18th November 2016)