LONDON: Pakistan’s comeback to level the four-match Test series against England was inspired by the Pakistan Movement which led to the country’s independence 69 years ago, said skipper Misbah-ul-Haq.
Misbah’s men marked the nation’s Independence Day on Sunday with a 10-wicket victory over the Three Lions in the fourth Test at The Oval in south London that saw them end the series all square at 2-2.
“It was like the Pakistan Movement that even in the time of adversity Quaid-i-Azam never abandoned hard work,” Misbah told AFP. The 42-year-old cricketer said he had told the young players in his squad never to lose hope.
Legacy for future Test sides
Misbah vowed to leave a Test legacy after the series-levelling win.
“The Oval win is not only pleasing as it is achieved on the Independence Day but it will also help us form a legacy for our future Test teams,” he said.
“When I took over as captain that was my aim, so this win will help me leave a legacy for future Test teams,” the veteran skipper added.
Misbah was recalled to the side and given the captaincy following the fall-out from Pakistan’s infamous tour of England in 2010.
That saw then Pakistan captain Salman Butt and pace bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir given five-year bans and jail terms for deliberately bowling no-balls as a part of a spot-fixing sting in the 2010 Lord’s Test against England.
But the past six years have not only seen Misbah unite the team but also keep it scandal-free.
“It has been important for me to unite the team and unity always brings good results, even in challenging situations like in England,” said Misbah.
“This series-levelling win will go a long way in establishing this team because in the next six months we have series against the West Indies, New Zealand and Australia,” added the top-order batsman, who made a hundred in Pakistan’s win over England in the first Test of this year’s series at Lord’s.
But after that match, Pakistan suffered heavy defeats — by 330 and 141 runs in the next two Tests at Old Trafford and Edgbaston respectively.
Misbah said Pakistan had shown remarkable resilience to then level the series in convincing style at The Oval.
“I kept telling the team that we have to follow the example of great teams who never look behind and keep working hard and that’s what we did,” he said.
‘Gift for the nation’
“When you play cricket, you have a lot of difficulties and face a lot of challenges, but through hard work you can achieve the toughest of things.
“I remember that when we were coming here (to England) no one was ready to give us any chance but I and my players had the belief.
“With a bit of luck, we could have won this Test series but even drawing a series in England against a team of quality players is a big achievement.”
Misbah said he told the players before the Oval match how important it would be for them to mark Independence Day with a win.
“I told the players that we will achieve more than one thing if we win and level the series, we will also give a gift to the whole nation.”
Pakistan have not played a Test in their own country since an armed attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus in Lahore in 2009 and Misbah said: “Our people love cricket but they are not able to watch us at home.
“So it is important that we keep winning and give youngsters and up and coming players the encouragement to take up the game and make their names.”