Misbah Ul-Haq: World Cricket's Batsman of the Month, September 2013
Misbah ul-Haq is a man who divides opinion. For some, he is the villain who bats far too slowly and takes up too much time, even when his side is dead and buried. For others, he is the lone solider and beacon of hope in an often sinking ship.
Misbah has wriggled into the hearts of many cricket lovers all while some of his own supporters have turned against him. He had a fantastic time with the bat in September, though.
In just three games in the Champions League T20, he scored 195 runs for the Faisalabad Wolves. With a top score of 93 unbeaten, which helped lift his average to an astronomical 195.00 and a strike rate of 145.52, Misbah was, once again the light in a very dark room.
It is often said that he bats too slowly, but he proved quite the opposite during the CLT20 qualifiers. Against Sunrisers Hyderabad, he hit an unbeaten 56 off just 40 balls, a strike rate of 140.00. He hit five sixes in that game, proving that he can adapt the pace of his batting when needs be.
In the CLT20 qualifiers he hit 13 sixes and 11 fours over all.
Misbah's unbeaten 93 against the Kandurata Maroons came off 60 balls, at a strike rate of 155.00.
He managed all of this just three days after completing a Test match against Zimbabwe, where he tried his best to save his struggling Pakistan side. Misbah dug in in the first innings to score 33 off 120 while his partners around him couldn't even get past 10. After the top order managed to make it to 96-3, Misbah stuck around for nearly 40 overs to try and steady the ship. The players after him struggled to make it past double figures, with just one batsman getting to 10.
In the second innings, Misbah was one of the lone rangers in the fight against a Pakistani collapse once again. He notched up an unbeaten 79 off 181, one of only two players to make it past 30. Pakistan lost the Test by 24 runs, and while it would be easy to say "Misbah should have batted faster," that's not his role in the Test setup, and it would have been irresponsible to play rash and unruly shots when Pakistan were trying to recover from the umpteenth batting wobble.
In the previous Test he scored 53 and 52, although his teammates fared far better here as Pakistan won by a massive 221 runs, it's the skipper's consistency that makes him such an asset to the team.
Sure, Misbah might have his faults and does like to do things is way, but he is an undervalued asset, both by Pakistan and the cricket world.
Misbah ul-Haq, Zindabad!
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