Pakistan’s most successful skipper Misbah-ul-Haq will retire after the upcoming Test series against the West Indies, he announced Thursday, ending months of speculation over his future.
“The series against the West Indies is my last series,” the 42-year-old told reporters at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, adding that he had been under no pressure to retire.
“I am satisfied,” he said.
Since taking over the captaincy in the wake of an international spot-fixing scandal in 2010, Misbah — who is currently the oldest international cricketer — has led Pakistan in 53 Tests, winning 24, losing 18 and drawing 11.
He also briefly led his team to world number one Test rankings last year, despite playing no matches at home due to concerns over security.
The feat earned him widespread acclaim throughout the cricketing world. Earlier this year, coach Mickey Arthur described Misbah as “integral” to the Pakistan side.
But the veteran has long been expected to call time on his illustrious career, with former Pakistan cricket heavyweights demanding he step down in January after a 3-0 rout in Australia.
It was Pakistan’s fourth consecutive 3-0 whitewash in Australia since 1999, and their 12th straight defeat.
After the loss, Misbah said he would take his time to decide on the future — reversing an earlier announcement that he would quit, which he said was triggered by frustration.
The Pakistan Cricket Board paid tribute to the aging captain, with chairman Shaharyar Khan saying they would honour him when he retires.
“He has given a lot to Pakistan cricket,” Khan said, echoing a flood of accolades on social media, where #MISBAH was trending.
Legendary paceman Wasim Akram said it would be “tough to fill the void”.
“A cricketing mind like him comes rarely,” he said. “I have good memories of Misbah, he has brought positive things in Pakistan cricket as a leader in the last seven years.”
Misbah gave himself little time to dwell over the announcement Thursday before turning his focus on to the West Indies series.
“My cricket journey was very good,” he said briefly, though he said he wished he could have played a series against arch-rivals India.
“There were many hardships in my career but for now I am focusing on the present situation.
“The series against West Indies is a good opportunity to bring the team back on the winning track. The last six Test matches do not reflect the abilities of our team.”
Misbah will lead Pakistan in the Tests, the first of which starts in Jamaica on April 21, the second in Barbados on April 30 and the third in Dominica on May 10.
The series has also seen selectors introduce fresh blood in the form of young leg-spinner Shadab Khan, 18, who rose to prominence in the second edition of the Pakistan Super League in February-March.