Tag: Misbah-ul-Haq (page 1 of 2)

Misbah-ul-Haq – King of the Daddy Fifty

Last week Ian Bell was dismissed for 99 and we wondered whether that was more or less painful than Misbah-ul-Haq being left stranded on 99 not out against the West Indies.

Well, it seems Misbah was wondering the same thing. One Test later, he executed a textbook fatal bat withdrawal and edged to the keeper on the same score.

Misbah has always been King of the Fifty and it would seem that he is hell-bent on maximising his average before retirement without recourse to three figures. This was the third time he has made 99 in a Test match. He also has a 96 and a 97 to his name. It would perhaps be more accurate to brand him King of the Daddy Fifty.

Anyone who has watched him bat won’t be entirely surprised by this tendency. A man who at times boasts an almost tangible air of lack-of-intent, Misbah is not averse to completely renouncing progress during the latter stages of his innings.

He doesn’t so much become becalmed as struck down by a nasty case of rigor mortis. This tendency can transform the short trip from 90 to 100 into an incredibly protracted quest, such that being dismissed in the nineties becomes a statistical probability due to the sheer number of balls he faces.

You could argue that Misbah’s best hope for reaching three figures has been to do so before even he himself has noticed that it’s a possibility – but had this been a regular ploy, it would have greatly devalued one of the all-time great inexplicable innings.

Misbah-ul-Haq will retire from Test cricket after this series and anyone worth knowing will miss him enormously.

 


Seven things we learned from England v Pakistan

 

Via Sky Sports

Via Sky Sports

We’ve been trying to provide some sort of pithy and insightful summary of the Test series for 24 hours now, but it’s not really happening. We’ll instead content ourself with a vague collage of observations. If these are our workings-out, maybe you can provide the conclusion yourself.

Specialists and all-rounders

If you need someone to bat at seven or bowl right-arm fast-medium, England are spoilt for choice. However, if you want a specialist batsman, a fast bowler or a spinner, you’d be better off looking to the tourists.

England had more batsmen, but fewer effective specialist run-scorers. Despite greater numbers, they also had less diversity in their bowling attack.

If Moeen Ali could avoid being clattered for six…

Moeen emerged from the series with a better strike-rate than almost all the specialist bowlers. Blind yourself to the rate at which he concedes runs and he’s a very effective spinner. His stellar batting is an excellent distraction, but not quite blinding.

James Anderson has lost a quarter of a yard of pace

We don’t normally take claims that bowlers have ‘lost their nip’ too seriously because pace often varies from one match to the next. The difference with Anderson is that he said himself that he was down on pace in the second Test and then didn’t really seem to recover it. If he can retain a viable bouncer, he’ll probably be okay. Pace isn’t everything – but it is something.

Beware the out-of-form old pro

Younus Khan’s had it. Look at him. Look at the state of him.

Oh.

Beware the conquered leg-spinner

Yasir Shah hasn’t posed a threat since Lord’s. He doesn’t spin it. England have worked him out.

Oh.

Looking good and being effective are different things

Shivnarine Chanderpaul could have told you that, but James Vince has been trying to prove it from the opposite direction. We feared for Vince’s chances before he played and we haven’t seen a huge amount to reassure us since then. Nor has anyone else. County cricket’s who-saw-a-future-England-player-first-and-championed-his-cause-the-most competition will have to forget about this and move on. Do yourselves a favour though – don’t claim that a player ‘looks good’.

Misbah-ul-Haq

The last time Pakistan toured, cricket fans were left feeling sick and unenthusiastic about the game. Pakistan themselves were left a fractured mess. This time they leave with fans more enthused about the game and with a level of solidity to their cricket that it is hard to remember their ever having had before.

Misbah-ul-Haq is an alchemist who can turn middle-age into youth and chaos into order.


Misbah-ul-Haq sweeps Moeen Ali for four

Via ECB.co.uk

Via ECB.co.uk

Then reverse sweeps him for four. Then sweeps him for four again. Then he blocks one because he fancies a change of tempo. Then he sweeps him for four again.

It could be a long summer for Moeen Ali.

In amongst all the sweeping and reverse sweeping for four, Misbah-ul-Haq drove and nurdled a few to nudge his score up a bit and get it into three figures. At that point he did some press-ups.

It is incredibly hard not to warm to Misbah-ul-Haq.

Misbah is a man who achieves things he sets his mind to – and generally at the first attempt. We’re pretty sure today was his first innovative hundred celebration for example, and it was hilarious. In 2014 he had his one and only go at batting aggressively and equalled Viv Richards’ record for the fastest Test hundred. He had never played a first-class innings in England before this tour, but now he’s made a Test hundred here at the first time of asking.

Maybe when you’re 42, you have greater awareness of how few opportunities you’re likely to get and so make damn sure you make the most of them. Somehow it feels like he’ll have plenty more opportunities to sweep Moeen Ali for four though.


Misbah-ul-Haq untroubled by Venn diagrams

If Bryce McGain to Ashwell Prince and Dale Steyn to Paul Collingwood made the beast with four backs, their progeny would be Misbah-ul-Haq against England in Dubai.

Misbah is a man of extremes, as capable of batting for a draw when there isn’t one on offer as he is of making the fastest-ever Test hundred – but seemingly with little in between.

On the face of it, 102 off 192 balls is as close to a bog standard hundred as you’re ever going to get, but look a little closer and you’ll see that it’s half Tavaré, half Afridi.

Against the seamers, Misbah made 26 off 120 balls. Against the spinners, he made 76 off 72 balls. If we’d have been Alastair Cook, we’d have brought Ian Bell on and told him to bowl cutters, just to see what would have happened. Perhaps the bipolar computer inside Misbah’s head would have fused, unable to decide on a course of action. Dismissal by Venn diagram, effectively.


Misbah-ul-Haq and the golden robot

It’s a difficult gear change from second to 14th, but today Misbah-ul-Haq managed it. Doctor Deadbat transformed into Professor Pulverise and equalled Viv Richards’ record for the fastest-ever Test hundred off 56 balls.

For some batsmen, quick scoring is a numbers game. They play aggressively all the time and a handful of their innings come off. What’s far more impressive is when it’s a one-off. Misbah’s innings is pretty much the only fast-scoring attempt he’s ever attempted. Likewise the fifth-fastest Test hundred, Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s 69-ball effort also against Australia. That was another cracker. En route to his hundred, Misbah also took the record for the fastest Test fifty after going three better than Jacques Kallis’s 24-ball effort against Zimbabwe.

As much as we love Shahid Afridi, you can keep your Gilchrists and your Gayles. These are the innings we value. The inexplicable ones.

A major contributor to this innings was Steve Smith. As a bowler, Smith certainly has a golden arm (he dismissed Younus Khan in this innings). However, quite often that golden arm appears to be part of a golden robot who is employed as a waiter in a Michelin-starred restaurant. It’s not buffet bowling. It’s more accommodating than that. Fours and sixes are presented on a silver salver.

Misbah took 38 off 11 Smith deliveries today, but that isn’t intended to diminish his achievement. It’s just an observation. He still had to play the shots and those shots are certainly worth watching. Cricket Australia have thoughtfully uploaded a video of all the boundaries. Watch out for the straight sixes. They’re eerily similar to each other.


Misbah-ul-Haq shot down in a blaze of bathos

Chasing 261 against India, Misbah-ul-Haq didn’t panic. As the run-rate climbed, Misbah kept his cool and as wickets fell, he stood firm, maintaining an almost tangible air of lack-of-intent.

Dead-batting the ball again and again, Misbah sought to wear down the Indian attack to the extent that the match had almost gone for Pakistan before he leapt into action. Then, a man sensing his opportunity, he dead-batted some more.

Misbah wasn’t going to be put off by the fact that Pakistan needed eight or nine an over. He was in the zone. Only when the rate reached six runs a ball did he act, at which point he failed to score, surrendering the match.

It was majestic stuff. Fantastically admirable in its sheer wrong-headedness. Recognising that fact, the giant 28,000 crowd – a crowd that even Wolverhampton Wanderers would be proud of – put aside India’s victory in favour of a magnanimous standing ovation for that man Misbah.

Well played, Misbah. Well played.


Misbah-ul-Haq – another glitteringly sedate hundred

Misbah-ul-Haq indulging in a few slices of batsmanshipperyMisbah-ul-Haq’s one of those players who gets his own post even if we’ve got nothing to say now. He got 133 not out in a match where runs are as inevitable as weekend overeating.

He did his best to stand out from the crowd though – for much of his innings he was scoring at less than two an over. That’s what we like to see. Some of the world’s bowlers are going to be pretty bloody confused if he can persevere with his archaic tactics.


Misbah-ul-Haq defies India along with Kamran Akmal

Misbah-ul-Haq hitting the crickets by bat useIt seemed about time that Misbah-ul-Haq hit a Test hundred. One fifty wasn’t much of a Test record for someone we seem to write about on an almost daily basis.

He hit 161 not out against India, largely in partnership with Kamran Akmal who hit 119. Akmal’s innings should ensure he has plenty more opportunities to drop catches for Pakistan.

That’s what you want in a modern wicketkeeper – occasional innings that keep the selectors kidding themselves that you’re the next Gilchrist, allied with gloved clangers by the bucketload. That’s gloved ‘clangers’, as in ‘errors’ and not gloved ‘Clangers’, the whistling, woollen, miniature moon anteaters of children’s TV fame.

Misbah-ul-Haq’s innings took 351 balls. Twenty20 sloggery and Test blockery – what a guy.


Misbah-ul-Haq ready and positioned

Misbah batting away some cricketingsWell, here we are again. The first Test between India and Pakistan is still poised, it could still go either way and again so much depends on Misbah-ul-Haq, who’s one of the not out batsmen.

Man of the match awards hardly ever take account of context. You’ve got one batsman who hit a blinding 110 when the match was in the balance and you’ve got another batsman who coasted to 160 when his team were already miles ahead – it goes to the guy who got 160.

In this match, the man of the match is likely to be a bowler, due to the low scores. While Anil Kumble’s a fantastic candidate with 4-38 and 3-55 so far in the second innings, surely any batsman who scores runs in a low-scoring game is playing as big a part? But when was the last time someone was man of the match for a pair of fifties? Batsmen have to score hundreds to get the award, but we’ll see.

Pakistan lead by 167 with five wickets in hand. Test cricket’s bloody brilliant, isn’t it? It’s been three days now and we’ve still no clue as to who’s going to win. It’s gone one way and then the other in a manner fundamentally impossible in the shorter formats.

At times like this, you can stick those shorter formats. Test cricket is THE BALLS.


Misbah-ul-Haq run out failing to ground his bat

Or himself for that matter. If you didn’t see Misbah-ul-Haq getting run out for 82, you’ll get an idea as to what happened from the accompanying picture.

Conspicuously not groundedMisbah was about to make his ground after a quickish single. The throw came in from Dinesh Karhik at backward point and Misbah jumped to avoid the ball. Unfortunately, this meant that he was airborne as he crossed the popping crease. If you don’t ground your bat or some part of yourself the other side of that line, then you haven’t made your ground. The ball hit the stumps and Misbah was out.

He knew instantly and proceeded to angrily swipe his bat at the tips of the grass, which is the least satisfying outlet for pent-up rage in the whole world. After returning to the pavilion, Misbah presumably found something more substantial to punish for his own mental aberration.

There are so many ways to get out. You always have to be on your guard. Mentally, Misbah had already made his ground – he was just evading a cricket ball. Unfortunately, mentally making your ground doesn’t cut it with the third umpire.

Poor sod.


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