The much-anticipated Pakistan’s Test tour of England has come to an end – an enthralling contest that perfectly demonstrated the charm of Test cricket in a world that is rapidly moving towards shorter versions of the game. Although the series ended a 2-2 draw, Pakistan’s captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, feels that his side has emerged the victor – a fact not many will dispute.

The reason is simple; the team has put in some excellent performances home and away, comparable to the other top three – all the while banished from playing in Pakistan.

During the tour, Pakistan played compelling cricket, but the circumstances surrounding the performances made the series so special. Returning to England after the disgrace of the spot-fixing scandal, on the back of disappointing series defeats in limited overs cricket and with the No.1 ranking on the line, the team had to perform. It did, hitting all the right notes in the process – Muhammad Amir took the match-winning wicket at Lords, Yasir Shah discovered his magic just in time, and Younis Khan displayed his ageless class, earning Pakistan a win on their Independence Day. From tabloid disgrace to a lap of honour in The Oval with a Pakistan flag streaming behind – this was a special moment and the boys knew it.

As such, the Pakistan setup must be congratulated on this turn-around. Pakistan played with an uncharacteristic discipline, which was made visible through its fielding and batting. The exit of Shahid Afridi seems to have brought stability to the squad, and the new coaching staff made sure Pakistan was amply prepared. This discipline must be carried forward to limited overs cricket, where Pakistan still lingers on the fringes.

Special mention must be made for Misbah – the man of the series, and Pakistan’s most successful captain. Handed captaincy in 2010, he faced an uphill task to rebuild a fractured and under-construction team – he has done that with signature calmness, setting the stage for future success.