Misbah-ul-Haq believes his Pakistan side would be worthy recipients of the world No1 Test ranking – a possibility should results in Sri Lanka and the Caribbean go their way – given the arduous nature of playing their international cricket exclusively on the road.
The 2-2 series draw in England means that for the first time during Misbah’s six years as captain, Pakistan can climb to the summit provided Australia do not win their third Test in Sri Lanka and India fail to beat West Indies during the final match of their current tour.
Pakistan have made the United Arab Emirates their adopted home venue since the 2009 terror attack in Lahore, when the Sri Lankan team bus was fired upon by militants, and Misbah used his press conference after the 10-wicket victory at the Oval to remind those who point to their dominance in the desert of just what this nomadic existence entails.
“I am really proud of them and this team really deserves to be No1,” said Misbah, who was named as Pakistan’s man of the series by the England coaching staff. “Sometimes people think it’s easy, that the UAE suits us and we win. But just living every day away from our country, without family and friends, it’s really difficult. It’s mentally tough. I see my mother and sister only once a year and some friends not for three or four years. We are out of the country all of the time.
“We have West Indies in the UAE next, then travel to New Zealand and Australia. It’s not easy but the team is winning, playing competitive cricket and the team has shown we are good enough to play in these conditions.”
Aged 42 and not part of the upcoming one-day series in England, Misbah said he will now take stock at home before deciding his Test future. For now he will enjoy the glow of victory on Pakistan’s Independence Day and the satisfaction of winning over support in England following the 2010 spot-fixing scandal that soured their previous visit.
“Cricket matches are won and lost but to win an audience, people and supporters – that’s important,” the captain said. “This series has been in good spirits, both teams fought well and people will remember this series and the cricket played.
“We are happy to conclude this tour on a pleasing note, 2-2, everyone enjoyed it, we made friends on and off the field and good supporters.”
Pakistan became the first Asian team to win two Tests in England for 20 years, sealed when the opener Azhar Ali launched a straight six off Moeen Ali into the Oval pavilion at 4.16pm. Younis Khan was named of the match for his double century in the first innings, with the 38-year-old batsman ending eight innings without a half-century – the worst run of his 16-year career – in style.
Younis, who has committed to continuing his Test career, said: “Whenever Pakistan win like this, especially against a top team like England, it’s always a happy side. As a senior player I always want to contribute. That’s why it was at the right time.”