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by Saksham Mishra & Cricket World Thursday 28 May 2020
Misbah played ODI cricket till he was 41 and when he finally decided to retire from international cricket in 2017, he was 43. In fact, he retired as the oldest player to score a Test hundred which he compiled against England at Lord's in 2016, aged 42.
Another unique record that Misbah holds - not a pleasant one though - is him failing to score an ODI century despite representing Pakistan in 162 matches. He scored more than 5000 runs at an average of close to 45 with the best of 96 not out, but a three-figure score eluded him.
The only reasoning that one can think of for this strange record is that Misbah batted lower down the order and had to drop anchor often with the team in trouble. He not only got the the name 'tuk tuk' because of his slow batting but the circumstances impacted his strike rate and ability to make hundreds as well.
The batsman did his bit to debunk the 'tuk tuk' image with the fastest Test 100 (at that time) against Australia at Abu Dhabi off 56 balls as he became the record-holder of the joint fastest Test hundred along with the legendary Sir Viv Richards.
Misbah's international career only began to blossom after he was selected in the Pakistan squad for the 2007 T20 World Cup ahead of the experienced Mohammad Yousuf. He vindicated the selectors' decision by ending as the top-run scorer for Pakistan in the world event with 218 runs from 7 matches at an average of almost 45 and a strike rate of a tick under 140. Misbah would have been proclaimed a national hero had he not tried a scoop to score the winning runs and not been holed out on 43 with Pakistan at the brink of winning the inaugural T20 World Cup.
Another World Cup heartbreak followed against arch rivals India in 2011. He was the only batsman to score a half-century for his side before Pakistan were knocked out of the event on the back of a 29-run defeat against India in the semi-final.
Not many know that Misbah has an MBA degree from the Lahore University of Management and Technology. He made good use of his degree in leading Pakistan to some of the the most memorable victories in the country's history, not least the 3-0 clean sweep over the No.1 ranked England in early 2012 in UAE.
Misbah holds the honour of being the most successful Pakistan Test captain. As the Pakistan captain, he has also scored the second most runs in ODI cricket and the most runs in a single edition of a World Cup - 316 runs in ICC World Cup 2015. Pakistan registered victories in 11 Test series under Misbah’s captaincy out of 23 while 7 series ended in draw and only 5 in defeats. Pakistan won a total of 26 Test matches under him - the most by any captain.
Misbah was adept at playing out tough phases in Test cricket while possessing the ability to improvise and play unorthodox shots at the same time. He gave a glimpse of his solid technique in his first Test innings in 2001 where he batted for over two hours for just 28 on a tough Auckland pitch. On his tour of India in 2007, Misbah scored two centuries, batting for over 400 minutes in both of those knocks.
Misbah walked away from the ODIs after the 2015 World Cup and retired from all forms, along with Younis Khan, at the end of Pakistan's tour of West Indies in May 2017, with the team registering their first-ever series win in the Caribbean.
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