ABU DHABI - Misbah-ul Haq said he felt proud to become his country’s most successful captain, four years after he was handed the job in the post spot-fixing scandal which left Pakistan cricket in tatters. The 40-year-old achieved his 15th Test win when Pakistan routed New Zealand by 248 runs in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Misbah bettered his illustrious countrymen Imran Khan (14 wins in 48 Tests as captain) and Javed Miandad (14 wins in 35 Tests). A humble Misbah said he felt proud to be the best. “It sounds great and thanks to Almighty and you can see the names Imran Khan, Javed Miandad and I am at the top,” said Misbah who captained for the 33rd time since taking over in October 2010. “I can’t feel better on this record but I think they were better than me before and will remain better always.”

Misbah said when he looks back at the bad times of his captaincy the achievement feels even greater. “When I look back today it’s a big happiness because when I started this journey it was tough, when I was captain it was uncertain, I was not even in the team and it was a do-or-die situation and suddenly I was the captain,” said Misbah.

Pakistan had to start afresh after a spot-fixing scandal which resulted in bans on then Test captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer. “When I look back the way I performed and the way the team responded it is incredible, youngsters or seniors, everyone, gave his best and that’s why we deserved the results and all the players deserve credit for this,” said Misbah.

The win against New Zealand is Pakistan’s third in a row after last week’s 2-0 white-wash of Australia, their first series win over them in 20 years. Misbah said the key to his success was he never lost hope. “Good days or bad days, I never lost hope and credit also goes to the Pakistan Cricket Board that despite so many changes in the set-up (of the board) they kept faith in me and I hope even after me there is consistency in captaincy because this gives you results,” said Misbah, who also praised man-of-the-match Rahat Ali.

“He has been bowling well,” said Misbah of the laft-arm paceman who got six wickets against New Zealand. “When he made his debut there were a lot of question marks on his performance but I as captain, coach, the selectors and other people around the team backed him.” New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum agreed his team had been well beaten by Pakistan. “Sometimes you’ve got to admit you were second best, cop it on the chin, reflect on it but don’t overanalyse,” said McCullum, who regretted missed catches.

“We created several chances which we didn’t take, and over here you can’t be needing to get 26-27 wickets. From a bowling point of view the wicket was dead on days one and two but got better in pace as the game went on. We’ve still got the personnel to do it. If Pakistan wins the toss I reckon it’s a 70/30 advantage to them straight away.”

McCullum praised his opener Tom Latham who scored his maiden hundred in the first innings. “From our point of view we were left wanting in a couple of areas, however there are some thoughts of hopes with Latham’s innings which was one of real class and he gives us good lessons on how to get in and get through the initial period.” The second Pakistan versus New Zealand Test starts in Dubai from November 17.