Decision to retire after World Cup will not change: Misbah-ul-Haq

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Karachi, Mar 18: Pakistan's captain Misbah-ul-Haq has said his decision to hang up his boots from one-day international cricket after the World Cup is final and will not change.

World Cup Special; Quarter-final schedule

"I had decided to retire from ODIs after the World Cup after giving it much thought and it was the right time to take the decision," he told PTI in a telephonic interview from Adelaide.

File photo of Misbah-ul-Haq

"I had decided that regardless of how I perform in the World Cup and the results I will go and I have no intentions to change that decision. It is the right time to retire from ODIs," he said.

Misbah, to a question, also stated candidly that he would prefer to see the PCB give the captaincy to a young player for ODIs.

"We should be looking for a younger guy as Pakistan need to move on and give someone responsibility for a long time," he added.

Misbah, 40, has said he will continue to captain the Test side after the 50-over showpiece event. He also dismissed talk about some of the Pakistani players taking their places in the side for granted thus leading to a gradual decline in batting performances.

"I don't think so, this is the best team we have these are the best performers we have that is why we are persisting with these guys. Obviously you could say that their performances not lived up to our expectation but I think these are the best in terms of skills and that is why they are in the team," he stated.

Misbah also made it clear that he had never lost hope of his team reaching the knockout stage even after losing the first two matches of the World Cup.

"No that feeling never entered my mind. Simply because I am a fighter and I have never given up in life even when I was in and out of the Pakistan team. So how can I give up hope in my last tournament and in this format."

Misbah said Pakistan remained a dangerous side even against Australia in the quarter-final on Friday in Adelaide as the will to win was very high among the players and in himself.

"We know how important this tournament is for the Pakistani people and it is no secret this team has this ability to just turnaround things from really worst to top.

And that is why we did it I think our belief worked for us and I know after the first two games we needed one good game and we could turn it around and that is what happened. We just had the win and then we had four on the go," he added.

'I know what I can do with the team'

Asked how important the World Cup was for Pakistan, Asked how important the World Cup was for Pakistan, Misbah said it was a really big thing for the cricket-loving nation.

"It is really big it is the biggest event even for me since I have been playing and since it is my last ODI tournament and the World Cup is always important for all countries."

"For Pakistan it is specially important since we last won the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and people are expecting a lot from us."

Misbah also didn't rule out giving a chance to leg-spinner Yasir Shah in the remaining matches. "We can need anybody anytime and remember this is a 15-member squad.

Everybody is here for a purpose nobody is in a corner. We still have three games you don't know we may face pitch and conditions where we may have to just put him in."

Asked if he had used the criticism back home to turn around the side's fortunes in the mega event, Misbah said that he had never listened to criticism all his life.

"Simply because I know what I can do and what I have to do with the team. I think as a professional you need to go there and be focused and try to just give your 100 per cent and obviously when you are giving your 100 per cent you just don't think about what what results are coming," he said.

To a question about him describing captaining Pakistan as being the most difficult job in the world, Misbah said with a laugh this was true.

"I think everybody knows and that you could say the biggest hurdle at the moment and I would say this whether people like it or not, is the media."

"I say this because I want media to work towards the positive side, towards the good side of cricket. In building players and developing players and highlighting the things which can help develop really good players."

"I don't think they should always go on the negative side and shouldn't just give the people negative thoughts about our cricketers and Pakistan cricket.

The media can help build image of players and Pakistan cricket. If they don't support Pakistan cricket we are not going to make stars because it is the media which can build image of players and they can motivate and if they do this more people will follow this game and encourage their children to even play.

"If every time you are criticising the captain and players then how can you make stars and cricket will also lose its charisma for our people. They must understand it is really difficult to develop Pakistan cricket."

PTI

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