Misbah's blueprint to revive reputation

 

For the final time yesterday, Misbah-ul-Haq, the captain of Pakistan, insisted the past was the past. In the next three weeks the truth of that will become evident and, if it turns out as he hopes and expects, he may never have to address the issue again.

"The main thing I have told the team and the management is you can get your image back only by playing good cricket, by winning, by your good conduct on the field and off the field," he said. "That's what we are trying to do, and I think we are pretty much successful in that, the way we are doing things, the way we are playing for the last year and a half. I think we are on the right path."

Misbah, who took over the Test captaincy after the match-rigging scandal which engulfed Pakistan on their tour of England in 2010, has been dogged by questions in the past fortnight. Although Pakistan have generally been thought to have cleaned up their act since the start of Misbah's tenure, the topic of corruption has arisen because they are playing England again.

Before the match started this morning, Misbah intended to have a word with his counterpart Andrew Strauss about how the teams might approach the series. He might want to move on but he was aware the history between the sides demanded a rapprochement.

 

"We just want to play in a positive manner," he said. "Whatever we do, we just want to do through our performance. We want a good relationship out of the ground and good contest on the ground. We are focusing on that."

These were platitudes, spoken by a captain slightly weary of the line of questioning, but no more important platitudes will be uttered before a sporting contest this year.

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