'Misbah's shelf-life is over'

News

Former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has heavily criticised Pakistan, after Saturday's historic 24-run defeat to Zimbabwe on day five of the series decider at the Harare Sports Club

Former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has heavily criticised Pakistan, after Saturday's historic 24-run defeat to Zimbabwe on day five of the series decider at the Harare Sports Club.

The result resigned the sub-continental nation to their first Test match loss to the African outfit since November 1998 – and was characterised by an inadequate performance with the bat.

While Misbah and fellow veteran Younis Khan cherished a fine stretch of form throughout the two-match series and opener Khurram Manzoor showed promise with twin half-centuries, wicketkeeper-batsman Adnan Akmal and middle-order duo Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq struggled.

"We have hit rock bottom as a cricketing nations. They must address the batting woes as they were letting the team down. Misbah is leading the worst ever Pakistan team," said Akhtar. "We don't have good bowlers, we don't have good batsmen and if Misbah is prominent amongst the batsmen then it shows because, with due respect, Misbah is not world class."

Erstwhile opening batsman Ramiz Raja, meanwhile, has questioned Misbah's leadership – and suggested a new skipper be reinstated ahead of the series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates later this year.

"Misbah contributed to a change of environment and gave stability to the team. He has given all he could to Pakistan cricket as captain, but there is now a predictability and staleness in his captaincy and our brand of cricket," added Raja.

"He seems to have ran out of ideas, so we need someone with fresh ideas. I think Misbah's shelf-life is over and with these ideas we will stand nowhere before South Africa. It seems excitement and aggression is at the lowest point in our cricket, we want to avoid defeat and this hot-and-cold, up-and-down performances must change."

The Pakistanis and Proteas will contest two Tests, the first of which will get underway at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on 14 October. The Dubai International Cricket Stadium will host the second and final fixture.

Latest