ICL: Indian Cricket League

Misbah all set to regain Test team berth


mhaqMisbah-ul-Haq, one of Pakistan’s heroes of the World Twenty20, is all set to make a return to the country’s Test line-up for next month’s home series against South Africa.

The Mianwali-born batsman seems almost certain to get the selectors’ nod when they name a 15-man Pakistan squad for the two-match Test series against the Proteas starting from October 1 in Karachi.

‘The News’ learnt here through reliable sources that Misbah will replace former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq in the Test squad and will also make the cut for the five-match ODI series.

Inzamam fell out of the favour with the Pakistan Cricket Board officials after the World Cup debacle this March and any hopes he had of resuming his Test career fizzled out after the aging batsman joined the rebel Indian Cricket League earlier this summer.

Misbah played five Tests for Pakistan from 2001 to 2003 and was unable to impress much in the long version of the game. He has 120 Test runs at a poor average of 13.33. His last Test outing was against Bangladesh at Karachi in the summer of 2003.

He was selected in Pakistan’s Twenty20 squad ahead of batting maestro Mohammad Yousuf — a decision that attracted a lot of criticism from various quarters.

But Misbah silenced his critics with an excellent run of form in the inaugural World Twenty20 event, hitting a whirlwind 53 against India and a match-winning 66 against Australia.

“Misbah is no doubt one of our success stories in the World Twenty20 tournament,” chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed told this correspondent.

He agreed that Pakistan may have some vacant spots in the middle-order but was non-committal when asked whether Misbah will make the cut for the Test squad.

“We will wait and see what happens in (Pakistan’s) semifinal and beyond before deciding the Test squad,” he said. “We have to take an input from the captain and coach before announcing the squad.”

Pakistan meet New Zealand in the first World Twenty20 semifinal in Cape Town today (Saturday).

The chief selector said that if Pakistan reached the final then the Test squad will most be announced on September 26.

He said that the selectors will, however, name the Patron’s XI squad for a three-day warm-up match against the South Africans tomorrow (Sunday).

“We will see what happens on the final day of the match between Pakistan A and Australia in Lahore before announcing the squad for the warm-up match in Karachi,” he said.

The three-day game against South Africa would be played here at the NBP Sports Complex from September 28. Batsmen Yasir Hameed and Faisal Iqbal are among the players likely to be named in the Patron’s XI squad.

Source:Cricket News

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