LAHORE - Misbah-ul-Haq, the most successful skipper in Pakistan’s cricket history, has announced to retire from international cricket after the Test series against the West Indies.

Talking to the reporters here at the Gaddafi Stadium Thursday, 42-year-old Misbah said: “The series against the West Indies will be my last series. I have been under no pressure to retire and I am satisfied with my cricketing career.”

“I was planning to quit after the England series in the UAE in 2015 but there were some things and I had to carry on playing. But overall, it’s fine and the retirement decision is purely my own. There must not be any wrong impression that I was enforced by the board or there’s a patch-up between the board and me to announce retirement. I thought to play against West Indies because it was important for us as we haven’t won against them in their own backyard,” he added.

Since taking over the captaincy in the wake of an international spot-fixing scandal in 2010, Misbah — who is currently the oldest international cricketer — has led Pakistan in 53 Tests, winning 24, losing 18 and drawing 11. He also registered 10 Test series wins as a captain, which is the most by an Asian skipper.

He also briefly led his team to world number one Test rankings last year, despite playing no matches at home due to concerns over security. The feat earned him widespread acclaim throughout the cricketing world. Earlier this year, coach Mickey Arthur described Misbah as “integral” to the Pakistan side. He also won the ICC’s cricket of the award and was named one of Wisden’s five Cricketers of the Year on Wednesday along with compatriot Younus Khan and English trio Ben Duckett, Chris Woakes and Toby Roland-Jones.

The skipper said that leading the national team was a great honour for him and he always captained it from the front to be a role model for the teammates. “I always tried to bring glory for my country and during my entire tenure as a captain, I always tried my best to boost the team’s morale through my exceptional performances,” he said.

It is the great honour for the country that Pakistan Test captain Misbah along with Younus Khan earned the distinction of being part of the Wisden’s prestigious Five Cricketers of the Year. “There were lot of ups and downs in my career, but I am contended the way I led the side.”

Replying to query regarding his future plans, he said that he hadn’t yet decided about his future but informed that he would continue playing the domestic cricket for some time. “The West Indies tour is very important for me, so that’s why I preferred to feature in the Quaid-e- Azam Trophy Grade-II matches to gain full fitness and form, as it will help in doing well during the West Indies series,” he said.

About his cricketing career, the skipper said: “A cricket career is like your life, which can’t be straight and smooth. There are ups and downs but one who learns from failures always succeeds and I always learnt from my mistake and tried my best to give my best.”

When asked about the dream he couldn’t achieve, Misbah said winning the World Cups of 2011 and 2015 were his dreams, which could not be fulfilled but he was delighted when the national team clinched the World Twenty in 2009. “I have another wish of leading Pakistan team against India, which also couldn’t come true while I also couldn’t captain my team at home soil.”

Revealing about the best moment of his life, Misbah said: “That moment was when the Test mace came to Pakistan. We worked really hard to give the best performances and by the Grace of Almighty we succeeded in delivering and earning the top rankings in the Tests. I think a lot about Pakistan cricket and I want to see it at the top one again.”

He said he always enjoyed playing cricket and as a captain, he always tried to justify his role as team leader. “I always tried to give my best to motivate others to do their best. It is the cooperation of the PCB and teammates, due to which I have achieved so much in my so far cricketing career.”

About next Test captain, Misbah said Sarfraz Ahmad would be the best choice to replace him as Test captain. “Sarfraz has talent and potential to justify in the role of a captain, so we must support him fully and make him another successful captain. In my view, there must not be separate captains for all the three formats, instead Sarfraz should be made captains of all the formats, as it will benefit Pakistan cricket in longer run,” he added.

Misbah said Pakistan team was balanced and capable of winning the Test series against the West Indies. “All the team members should ulitize all their skills to win the Test series, and make it a remarkable one. I hope everyone will play its positive role and produce the best performances in all departments of the game.”

 

 

Misbah calls it a day