Friday, 7 April 2017

MISBAH : The most successful un-Pakistani, Pakistan Captian.

I was born in a place called Kashmir , where people literally were die hard afridi fans indeed they still are , and at that time when whole Kashmir was all about Afridi , It was about copying his hairstyle , the style of batting, didn't matter even if required no technique, except closing of eyes and smashing everything that comes in the way, the same was the case with my family , as the fans used to call themselves "The AFRIDIANS". 

As I grew the most popular game of my land also, what I may say, struck me as well. It was about watching everygame of cricket doesn't matter even if it was meaningless , between the minnows or even if it wasn' t televised , I would find the way by reading score uptades and commentary on Cricinfo . Unlike the people of my land , I was different to say the least , never an AFRIDI fan, my early introduction to Pakistan cricket was through Muhammad Amir , indeed he was the guy who literally made me know what cricket really was, he made me feel what it really was . Aamir was the guy who rose to fame overnight becoming a household name everywhere and it was the reason for me getting involved in cricket in a way I had never thought. That 2010 scandal was enough for me to decide that may be cricket wasn't the thing I should focus on.

One day, while reading the newspaper, I got to know that Misbah was appointed as the skipper of Pakistan team. . . . . . Oh just a second, isn 't this the same guy who cost Pakistan the World Cup, he was indeed the most hated person in KASHMIR and so was in Pakistan . I didn't watch that World cup final but I just remembered the hundred he scored against India when Pakistan toured India in 2007.

Whenever Misbah came to bat or cameras focused on him while he was fielding, everyone I mean everyone, just used to say this line " ye gov suey scoop wol "( he is same guy who scooped the ball against India) which they seemed to have just on the tip of their tongues, just incase misbah's face might flash on screen. Misbah, the poor guy .

This guy hadn 't any thing to show, but after being appointed as Captian, that Test series draw against Saffers found my heart saying to me that he is the guy , well I wasn't suprised to see that I was only person who actually admired Misbah, indeed I was shell shocked to hear when one of my friends told me that he admires Misbah and wants to emulate his style of batting, I was like, could you say it again . . . . . . . I had seen people leave no stone unturned to criticize him indeed they abused him to the highest level they could have . But there I was, who found himself to be another Misbah,  one of the facts that one day playing for my club , I opened the innings and came back not out after 20 overs to found that I had scored 45 runs . . . . . somebody yelled "Misbah of our club" , with everyone bursting into laughter, but not me probably I wanted to hear those words or maybe I felt proud on hearing that. Misbah became an inspiration , an idol, a teacher and till now I still can 't figure out how , I mean how.

Those matches in UAE and England used to end by midnight, here in Kashmir, and I used to hear a repetition of words every night " why are we watching this torture again and again , Misbah should go " , how , how can anyone say that how , your middle order dont score , openers are pathetic, its just Misbah with some useful contribution with lower order that take Pakistan so close, otherwise they would always be beaten ruthlessly. I felt Pakistan didnt deserve Misbah, but if not Pakistan then whom , it had to be either Pakistan or nothing. Misbah made a way in the hearts of Kashmiris  (indeed call them Afridians), how could he , a man with literally no swag , no agression, no charisma , no flamboyance , I mean how can Kashmiris even think of him, how ? .
That complete thumping of England in UAE in 2012 changed perceptions, of course it changed , it was visible by how people reacted now and it was visible  at the forums of a popular  cricket discussion site Pakpassion as well.

 I had seen people hating Misbah as if he had killed someone , someone who was their life, but by now, a lot had joined the " Misbah Fan Brigade " but a huge number still not ready to accept the truth. That ODI series win against Saffers in South Africa was something I may call utterly delicious. Misbah became the first Asian captian to do so, with haters still mocking him, but this time, THE MISBAHIANS didn 't care about it, they started to behave as cool as their captian often did , literally reactionless.

Misbah had turned a huge no. of Misbah haters into his fans, how could he , how , he never was as aggressive as Imran khan, never was as Ironic as Hanif Muhammad , and above all, never arrogant , never. A man who never yelled at his bowlers , who never complained about his batsman, infact every time his players made a mistake, he never complained indeed it was a typical Misbah style "PUTTING HIS HAND ON HIS FOREHEAD AND EYES DOWN ", letting the player know that he had done it wrong. Misbah played the game the way it should be played, as it is called a GENTLEMAN 'S GAME although a very few people play it that way.

In a space of six years Misbah made each and everyone of his haters his fans. From a time when posts about him used to be filled with anti - Misbah comments, where it was difficult to find anyone supporting him , and now when the scenerio is exactly the opposite , Misbah won the hearts of his haters with his defensive style , a style that is so
so UN- PAKISTANI thing . I saw people of my land becoming die hard supporters of a person whom they hated the most and today nobody seems to remember that final of 2007 World Cup, something which he pointed in his interview with Hassan Cheema in 2015.
"Ten years from now no one will read anything about me . They' ll just see my record. And they 'll think, ' Oh, so this guy played only in his 30s and still averaged 50 ? Oh, he averages 44 in ODIs and won this number of games for Pakistan? Oh , this was his record in won matches and successful chases . That is all anyone will care about. Ten years after you leave, who cares if anyone in the press box was with me or against me? My legacy will be in my
numbers. "

In the same interview Misbah said that that he was the youngest in his family and most Nikamma(useless) . Well if you are a Nikamma , then Misbah everyone of us would want to became a NIKAMMA. In this article Hassan puts it nicely in the end " A man of reason, of logic , of numbers; it is no wonder Misbah never connected with fans like someone of his accomplishments should have . Yet, as is the case with most Pakistani greats, his legacy will likely become greater as the years pass . Every passing month the name-calling and the rancour between the diehards and the detractors will become a fading memory. And what will remain is the fact that he was never supposed to be a cricketer, let alone a captain and a towering wall against a tide that could have swallowed Pakistan cricket.   History will remember a boy from Mianwali who fell in love with cricket , adored it , ignored his father's advice, pursued it, worshipped it, and
finally conquered it . "

Well this is me, Uman Naq ( well you might call me a Kashmiri Misbah) from round the wicket , signing off and wishing this WI series would be the best of Misbah 's life and brings happiness to all Pakistanis and Non- Pakistani Fans like me.

The captian might retire but he and his so un-Pakistani legacy will always live in our hearts.

Instagram: knottynaq

Misbah had made a habit of posing with trophies, right from his childhood. 
Azhar Ali , someone who always mentions Misbah for His sucess. 
The oldies always liked to grind the opopposition bowlers.

Uman naq is a freelance journalist with weekly HEAVEN TIMES, he also writes at Pakpassion and is an active blogger.