Misbah on his Aussie teammates, Amir and the PSL

01 January 2016

Mohammad Amir is back in Pakistan colours // Getty Images

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Misbah discusses the recalled quick Mohammad Amir and the prospect of international cricket returning to Pakistan

I recently watched Mohammad Amir in the Bangladesh Premier League. I think he is the same bowler he was five years ago. He is quite fit and the pace and swing he has is the same when he left.

I couldn’t see a difference between the Amir then and the Amir now. But right now the question is not about his performance. There is no doubt that he has done well in the domestic cricket as well as the BPL.

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There are other factors which need to be taken care of. Some players had reservations against his comeback and I think the cricket board has done the right thing by engaging players and Amir in conversation. 

It will be good for everybody. We need to remember that the regulatory bodies have allowed him to come back. We players shouldn’t even comment on it and need to respect the decision of the ICC and the Pakistan Cricket Board.

Amir at Pakistan's training camp in Lahore // Getty

We have been hearing about the Pakistan Super League for many years. All the players and the fans were waiting for it to happen. Knowing that almost every country now has its own Twenty20 league we also wanted one. 

After the players drafts I can now safely assume that the PSL is about to materialise.  

There might be a few problems – like anything you do the first time. It will no doubt improve with time. The players will benefit, perhaps not substantially in the first year but after few years the results will be different for domestic and international players. 

A main reason I am looking forward to this league is it might pave way for the return of international cricket to Pakistan. 

Financial perks aside, once foreign players take part, build relationships with local players and trust with the PCB, it should then be easy to convince them to tour Pakistan. 

With the security situation in the country improving I just hope that the PSL will soon be played in Pakistan. 

I am really happy to be part of Islamabad United and can’t wait to be on field with a bunch of great T20 players. We have a very balanced squad and it has ability to wonders in 20-over cricket.

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We all know how dangerous a player Shane Watson is. He has been doing well for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL and was the driving force behind their triumph in the league’s inaugural edition in 2008. He has played some great knocks for Australia too. It is great to have him in the team. 

And then there is the experience of Brad Haddin. He has also served his country well in all the formats. They both have Australia’s fighting spirit and the advantage with such players is that they can win you matches from any situation.

Apart from the two Australians, we also have two ideal T20 players from the West Indies in Andre Russell and Samuel Badree.

Thunder duo Shane Watson and Andre Russell will join Misbah at Islamabad // Getty

Russell is a great power-hitter, wily bowler and excellent fielder. The way he bats and hits ball he can change the course of match in space of two to three overs. He is like Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi who does not need time to settle and can start hitting from the very first ball which is really important for a lower middle-order batsman in T20s. 

I remember Russell scoring 40 odd runs off 13 balls against us in the World Cup match in Christchurch it just changed the situation of the game. He is also a deceptive bowler who can trouble batsmen with his yorkers and slow-bouncers and with his agility on field he is a complete package for T20 cricket. 

Badree has also proven himself a fine T20 player. He is quite brilliant with the new-ball and was part of the World T20 winning team in 2012. Also it was his performances which played a vital role in Trinidad & Tobago’s victory in the Caribbean Premier League this year. I am really excited to have these overseas players in my team, they can do wonders in T20 cricket. 

The tournament could also help Saeed Ajmal revive his career. He is quite hopeful and working very hard for a comeback. Since we don’t have any other off-spinner in the squad Ajmal can play an important role for us. 

He has experience of playing cricket in the UAE conditions and if he proves his worth in the PSL he will be playing international cricket soon again. I am happy that the Islamabad team has selected him. He is an experienced bowler and we will look to utilise his expertise.

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As there are just five teams in the first edition many good players couldn’t find a place in the squads. Some of them are really talented guys. A case in point is Nasir Jamshed. Even though his recent performances haven’t been that good I still feel he is an ideal player for one-dayers and T20s but due to limited opportunities he won’t be playing. 

The same happened with Faisalabad’s Asad Ali and Asif Ali. The latter is a power-hitter and scored a century on his T20 debut. 

Younis Khan plays T20s regularly for Abbottabad but he also couldn’t make it. Taufeeq Umar, Adnan Akmal, Rahat Ali, Imran Khan Sr - they all have played for Pakistan in the recent years but won’t be playing the PSL which is sad. But it happened due to the limited chances. I hope they will be part of the league in future. 

The mushrooming of T20 leagues is good for players as the revenues generated by the leagues has given players monetary benefits but we have to keep our wits about the other factors. We have to give Test cricket priority as well. 

If the focus remains only on T20 leagues then the players will be developing their skills according to T20 cricket only. They will be looking to just hit the ball or bowl four overs which could be dangerous for Test cricket. 

Therefore, I think all the cricket boards and the ICC need to give priority to Test cricket and find a balance between T20 leagues and red-ball cricket or players will stop taking an interest in the longer format.