Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq has admitted that it will be extremely hard for him to retire from ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals following the 2015 World Cup.
Ul-Haq also made it clear that his decision to retire had nothing to do with the uncertainty of his future as captain and as a member of the squad as well.
“Marking the World Cup as the last event isn’t really a difficult decision,” he said. “What was difficult was to make up my mind about how I will part myself from cricket which has been everything for me. I have always played cricket with passion and the game is top priority for me. The game, which you have played for almost 20 years with so much passion, it’s not easy to leave it. I think everything which is in this world has to end. Why not take your own decision? I am happy that I have taken the decision.
“It’s a wrong perception that I have taken this decision amid insecurity over my career after the World Cup. A few people might be thinking that I have no confidence in myself or in the board. They suspect that I will be dropped after the World Cup or removed as captain. It’s not like that. I have always played cricket with a positive attitude. I’ve been planning this for quite some time and I was waiting for the right moment, and it is the right moment.”
With the World Cup set to begin in just under a month, ul-Haq is determined to lead Pakistan to World Cup glory as it has been 23 years since they last won the tournament.
“It’s a motivation for me. Since it will be my last tournament, I am preparing myself to give whatever I have to the team over the next 2-3 months,” he said. “I will be pushing myself hard however I can, whether it is mentally, physically or skill-wise. As a team I desire and hope that we finish at the peak like we did in 1992. It’s my wish and I will also try my best to achieve this.
“I want to thank the Almighty who helped me play for such a long time. I captained the one-day team for almost four years. I want to thank all my family members who supported me, the PCB who gave me confidence in every good and bad time and supported me as a captain. Thanks to all my fellow players, my team members, my coaches, my teachers, my fans, whosoever supported me to become a cricketer – even groundsmen, my departments, my teams, my regions, my divisions, my clubs. I am happy that I have reached a stage to take such a decision. I will have their support in the World Cup and will try to live up to their expectations.”
When asked who will take over as ODI captain once he retires, ul-Haq said: “It’s such a matter that I have openly given my advice to the cricket board and the chairman. I have said before in the media that I don’t want to dishearten the players by naming any specific player. There are a lot of guys in the team who are sensible and understand cricket and can take Pakistan cricket forward. At this stage it’s not good to name any specific player in public. I have also given my input to the PCB and now they are to judge and decide who is capable to lead Pakistan and then take a decision.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan wished ul-Haq the best of luck for the World Cup.
“I have been manager of the team twice. I can tell you, from the bottom of my heart, that the unity which I saw in the team during Misbah’s tenure I haven’t seen it before,” he added. “If you play with unity and play with sporting attitude then I think there will be success. You won’t find anyone better than Misbah – he is matured, decent and very well-educated. He has taken criticism with his chin up, he is a star of Pakistan cricket.”