Thursday, November 22, 2007

First look: Misbah-ul-Haq

for starters, the one batsman misbah most reminds me of is the titan with whom he shares a part of his name and whose not-so-inconsiderable boots he was brought back into the pakistani side to fill - inzaman-ul-haq. (even more so, after he found yet another inventive method to get himself out in this his first test against arch-rivals, india.)

thanks to misbah contriving to come up with ever original ways to terminate the nerveless sojourns his knocks have a happy habit of turning into, my top 3 inzy 'dismissal bloopers' are quickly being replaced by 'mindless misbahs'. but devising farcical ways of ending until then chanceless plays isn't the only reason this late bloomer from mianwali, punjab, reminds me of the mountain from multan.

unlike other mortal players who need a few 10 deliveries or two to find their feet, misbah, right from the ball go, looks - quite in the manner of the the gentle giant - utterly unflappable. also, much like inzy, misbah's backfoot play is far more assured than the tentative pokes he is reduced to dabbling in when drawn forward. (note to clueless opposition bowlers.)

if inzy fell on his wicket to get himself dismissed off a panesar delivery, misbah 'jumped' to his doom. if inzy blocked a throw from the fielder because he, blithely, thought the ball was no longer in play (when it very much was), misbah lovingly guided a ball that was decidedly rather wide and outside the off-stump all the way back to his leg stump. and if inzy was the man pakistan depended on to counter quality fast bowling in the past, misbah is the man they will turn to in the future.

with the mercurial nature of the two immensely talented Ys in the team hanging like a sword over the young skipper shoaib malik's head, tpr firmly believes that misbah is the rock pakistan's opponents will have to work hardest to find a way around and a thorn the size of kashmir that india will repeatedly have to contend with. assuming of course, misbah doesn't make it his business to do the job himself with more 'inzys', make that 'misbahs'.

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