Melbourne [Australia]: Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur has insisted that veteran cricketers Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan have earned the right to decide when they want to draw curtains on their international careers.
Both the batsmen, who underwent a stern examination by Josh Hazlewood and Jackson Bird, were dismissed in the space of five overs on a rain-shortened opening day of the Boxing Day Test against Australia, leaving visitors on 142-4 when play was finally called off before Tea.
Both the senior batsmen have come under the scanner following their recent slump in form. Younis now averages 12.75 from his last eight innings and Misbah 22.43 from his last seven
And now given their ages, there would be under tremendous pressure, especially if results do not go Pakistan’s way.
“Only they would know [what the future holds],” Arthur was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “But we back them massively in the dressing room. That’s all I can say. Ultimately they will decide when they think the time is right.”
“But within our dressing room they are held in such high esteem and we back them every time they go out and play. There’s no doubt in our dressing room about Younis and Misbah,” he added.
The South African further said that the veteran duo has earned the right to go when they felt it was time.
“One’s been an inspirational leader for the last six years and the other guy is closing in on 10,000 Test runs. They’ve earned the right in a massive way. And again the esteem they are held in within the dressing room is second to none,” he said.
What Pakistan would not want is both the senior batsmen leaving the team at the same time, thus leaving a void of experience in the camp. Talks over Misbah’s future have been going on for quite some time. It is widely speculated that the series Down Under could be Misbah’s last as Pakistan are not scheduled to play any Test series before March and by that time, he would be nearing 43.
Younis, who is 39 at present, has not spoken clearly about his future. But he has often expressed his ambition to become the first Pakistan batsman to score 10,000 runs in Test cricket, a landmark that is just 235 runs away.
The Pakistan coach said, in an ideal world, he would want them to stagger their exits so that the impact on younger batsmen in the side can be more carefully managed.
“Yeah, I mean in an ideal world, you will,” the 48-year-old said. “But ultimately that decision rests with them. They’ve earned the right so if they want to continue, fantastic, because that’s what we want as a cricket team. If they don’t, we feel we are starting to make enough ground in terms of bringing other players through.”
“I want to reiterate there’s no doubt surrounding those two whatsoever. They are still model professionals and they train, they are fit, they practice and they are inspirational around the dressing room. The longer they can be around that dressing room the better it is for the Sami Aslams, the Babar Azams, the Azhar Alis, the Sharjeels, the young guys who are with us,” he added.
Australia are currently leading 1-0 in the three-match series following their nail-biting 39-run win over Pakistan in the opening Test at the Gabba. (ANI)