Pakistan’s normally mild-mannered captain Misbah-ul-Haq on Tuesday launched a blistering tirade against his critics as he confirmed his retirement from one-day internationals.
After patiently enduring years of abuse for almost every failing by the perennially mercurial Pakistan team, the 40-year-old said he was ready for a rest.
He said he had no intention of changing his mind about one-day cricket but would continue to play Tests, in which format he is Pakistan’s most successful captain.
Misbah captained Pakistan in their recent World Cup campaign which ended in a battling quarter-final defeat to hosts Australia.
He said it was disappointing to see former stars on television laying into the team, “using abusive words that are way below the basic standard of ethics”.
“Pakistan’s media houses should have some rules for people appearing on television screens or at least some basic training, because it seems that anyone who can’t find a job in the country becomes an expert or analyst on TV screens,” he told reporters in Lahore.
Critics dubbed Misbah “tuk-tuk” after the slow-moving rickshaw because of his dogged, patient batting style.
He was also regularly lambasted for supposedly negative tactics as captain and contrasted unfavourably with the swashbuckling, big-hitting all-rounder Shahid Afridi.
“I was being pinpointed for everything: when the batting failed, the media blamed me, when the bowling failed, the media blamed me and when the fielding failed, the media blamed me,” he said.
When Pakistan lost their opening World Cup games to India and the West Indies, effigies of Misbah were burned in the street in Lahore.
The phlegmatic Misbah led Pakistan through some of its toughest years, taking over the captaincy after the spot-fixing scandal of 2010 that saw three key players banned.
He has also never led his side in a home series. International cricket in Pakistan was abandoned after the 2009 militant attack on the Sri Lankan team bus and the side play all their “home” games in neutral venues.
“I can take responsibility to a certain limit but I am not the devil, I did not attack the Sri Lankan team, I did not end international cricket in Pakistan. Why blame me for everything?” he said.