Pakistan captain, Misbah-ul-Haq has described the win over England at Lord’s in the first Test as “special” and said he had always dreamt of seeing the team win at the home of cricket.
“To defeat England at Lord’s is special. But for me as captain this win at Lord’s is special in many ways. Because it was after the spot-fixing scandal at Lord’s that I was made test captain and we started rebuilding the team,” Misbah said in an interview.
The 42-year old batsman who scored a century in Pakistan’s dramatic win said the wounds of 2010 had haunted them for months but he was proud that the players had rallied around and played a key role in the rebuilding process.
“Pakistan cricket has not had it easy in the last six years with teams also refusing to play in Pakistan because of the security issues,” he added.
“But I am proud of my players that they have braved it out and faced all these problems manfully and kept on producing the goods. To see happiness and joy on the faces of the Pakistanis at Lord’s was special for all of us.”
“The win was also important because of the hard work the army trainers put in with us during the camp in Kakul. The push-ups were our way of acknowledging their contribution to preparing us for his tour,” Misbah said.
He said the team trainer and other support staff had always worked hard with the team but the time and effort put in by the army trainers in Kakul inspired all the players.
“The series is not yet over they are still three more tests to go and I am just more confident now that we can keep going well,” he added.
Misbah said that the Lord’s win was not just about him but all because of the players.
“It is because of everyone that we won. The contributions in both innings by Asad Shafiq and his crucial partnership with Sarfaraz Ahmed, Yasir and Rahat’s bowling it all fell nicely into place. I am very proud of my players,” he said.
The veteran batsman, who is now Pakistan’s most successful Test captain after being appointed to the difficult job soon after the spot-fixing scandal, said the players had taken the series as a challenge because it was Pakistan’s first one outside Asia in three and half years.
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“England is a very good side and they are particularly good in their own conditions. So we know we have some tough sessions ahead of us and the series is still wide open. We need to now just work harder on improving our fielding and batting. In England the batsmen still have to show better judgement while playing shots,” he added.
Misbah was criticised roundly in his tenure as captain for his defensive mindset but he said he took everything with a pinch of salt.
“At times it is annoying all the criticism. At times it serves as a motivation for us and at times we know some of the criticism is justified. But in the end we all want to see Pakistan win,” he said.
Misbah made it clear he had decided not to retire and carry on captaining the side to England because he had lot of confidence in the players.
“As a test side we have come a long way and we have notched up some great wins. But Lord’s was special.”
The Pakistan captain said he and his team were aware that England would come hard in the remaining tests.
“It is now up to us to just maintain the performances we produced in the first test and not repeat the mistakes we made there.”
He pointed out that England had a formidable test record at home since the last few years and they had come back strongly after losing on early in a series.
“We are aware of that but we are quietly confident that we have a very good unit and balance in all departments.”