The most remarkable aspect about Misbah-ul-Haq is his unflappable temperament. It shows in his batting, which reached unprecedented levels of consistency in 2011, and in his captaincy, which helped lift Pakistan from the depths of the spot-fixing saga in England in 2010. Taking over as leader immediately after that episode at the age of 36, Misbah's calm approach was exactly what Pakistan cricket needed after the tumultuous period it had gone through.
As a batsman, Misbah can either defend dourly with unflagging patience, or irritate bowlers with his improvisations. It helps that his defensive technique is sound: that solid foundation has helped him bat for long periods in Test cricket. That aspect of his game was in evidence right from his first Test innings in 2001, when he survived over two hours to score 28 in Auckland.
A run-filled domestic season, followed by club cricket in England and Inzamam's retirement from ODIs, prompted the board to award Misbah a central contract in July 2007. A month later, he was surprisingly picked, ahead of Mohammad Yousuf, for the 15-man squad for the Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa. He repaid the selectors' faith by finishing the tournament as Pakistan's best player and nearly taking them to victory in the final. He continued the good run on the tour to India later that year, scoring two hundreds, each of which spanned more than 400 minutes.
However, it was in 2011 that Misbah truly rose above the crowd and established his credentials as a top-class batsman and a leader of men. He was in charge when Pakistan completed one of their greatest Test series wins - a 3-0 sweep over the then No. 1 side, England in early 2012. Perhaps it's his degree in business management that has helped him manage the Pakistan team to the upper half of the Test rankings
As captain for the Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super league, Misbah will be looking to add another accomplishment to his already impressive list.
The story of Misbah can be summed up in his numbers:
56 – the number of balls it took him to complete the fastest century in the history of Test cricket. A rare example of him playing without the weight of the world and the fortunes of his team on his shoulder.
51 – His Test batting average as the national team captain
43 – the number of 50+ Test scores Misbah had as the national captain. No other Pakistan captain had more than 21.
36 – the age at which he made a comeback to the national team and was appointed the captain. An age at which most Pakistani cricketers are expected to have retired.
26 – the number of Tests he won as captain, top-10 all time and 2nd most among Asian captains (only MS Dhoni has more Test wins as captain)
8 – the number of Tests outside Asia that his Pakistan team won. No other Asian captain has more than 6 Test wins outside Asia.
7 – the number of years Misbah captained Pakistan in the UAE. The team remained unbeaten in the fortress they made out of nothing.
1 – the highest ranking his Pakistan team achieved. He is the only Pakistan captain to have held the Test mace.
Yet what the numbers don’t show is the context of thee achievements. All of this was done in t he aftermath of the disaster that was 2010 for Pakistan. All of this was done without playing a single match at home. His team were nomads and the UAE was just a temporary home that they invited the world to. And his love affair with the Emirates continued in the first edition of the PSL as he was the captain of the first side to win the tournament. PSL 3 will be his final major tournament, and it is appropriate that he will bid farewell in the Emirates.