Pakistan skipper wants to groom future leader

RIZWAN ALI
Last updated 07:39 05/06/2014
Misbah-ul-Haq
DINUKA LIYANAWATTE/ Reuters
LOOKING AHEAD: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq believes it is time for the national board to being considering his successor.

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Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq wants the national board to start searching for future skippers to groom.

Misbah turned 40 last month, but on and off the field he remains the undoubted leader of the test and one-day international sides since taking over after the infamous spot-fixing scandal.

''The important thing is that the board and management should give confidence to whichever player they want to be groomed (as captain),'' Misbah said overnight.

''There are lots of players ... Azhar Ali and Umar Akmal are captaining their teams in domestic cricket ... they have cricketing sense and if they get some experience you can give them this (captaincy) responsibility.''

Misbah has been the mainstay of a brittle Pakistan batting lineup, and was the top-scorer in one-dayers in 2013.

The Pakistan Cricket Board has already indicated that Misbah could lead the team at least until the World Cup next year in Australia and New Zealand, but Misbah said his prime objective was to keep on scoring prolifically and stay fit.

''I have always said that captaincy is in the hands of the cricket board,'' he said.

''My focus is to perform according to the best of my abilities ... the rest of the things are not in your control, and I don't even think about it.''

Misbah was the oldest player of around 40-odd players who attended a recent month-long training camp in Lahore.

Along with Younis Khan, Misbah was one of the fittest senior players in the camp, which Misbah said should be organized at least once a year to keep a close watch on players' fitness.

''The biggest motivation is your passion about this game ... when you have passion you try to be the best,'' he said.

''Not only me, all the senior players have worked hard by trying to push themselves.''

The PCB will be issuing central contracts after assessing fitness reports from the camp.

''It is a good thing that central contracts are being attached with our fitness level, only then will we have professionalism,'' he said.

Misbah was also heartened by news that fast bowler Mohammad Irfan, sidelined for seven months by a hip fracture, was recovering well.

''Irfan is an exceptional bowler, he is totally different from other bowlers in the world,'' he said.

''He is your lethal weapon, his four, five overs could win you any match.''

Pakistan's next international commitment was in Sri Lanka in August, then hosting Australia and New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates.

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- AP

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