KENNINGTON: Pakistan Test captain Misbahul Haq believes ball-tampering has become an essential part of exploiting reverse swing and there are methods which help bowlers to roughen up the ball to trouble the batsmen.
Misbah, who leads Pakistan into the fourth Test at The Oval against England with the series standing at 2-1, was asked if he had concerns about the reverse swing on the fifth day which helped the hosts crush the visitors in just two sessions, and the 42-year-old thinks he is not the one to judge that.
“We were concerned about how it [the reverse swing on the fifth day] happened just after lunch,” he said. “However, the umpires and the match referee are there and I am not in a place to judge. The game is over and the credit should be given to the English team for the way they bowled and got us out.”
However, when he was asked the legality of ball-tampering, Misbah said everyone does it using different methods.
“There are legal methods of taking care of the ball so that is reverse swings like cross-seam bowling, throwing from the boundary on the bounce and shining one side of the ball,” said Misbah. “Whichever team takes care of the ball in a better way is able to exploit more reverse swing. It has become an art, a science now. We should also look at this more carefully so that our bowlers can get this kind of advantage.”
When reminded that reverse swing was an art presented to the world by the Pakistani bowlers, Misbah said his bowlers didn’t have enough cricketing experience and are still learning the art.
“We have to take care of the ball,” he explained. “Nowadays, there is one bowler in every team who bowls cross-seam to roughen up one side of the ball. So, we need to work on this. England have the advantage with experienced bowlers like [James] Anderson and [Stuart] Broad who know how to take care of the ball and exploit reverse swing. Our bowlers have not played much cricket. They are slowly learning this art and it will take time before they master it.”
Moreover, while commenting on the last Test against England at The Oval, Misbah said the hosts do have the momentum but the team was prepared to fight back.
“They have the momentum but we believe we can comeback because this is a do or die Test match for us,” he said. “We have to really play well.”
The captain also thinks Pakistani players are performing well but they need to be combined together for a victory. “We need to combine all the performances like we did at Lord’s. Performances are there but we are not translating them into a victory.”
And Misbah thinks the team spirit is high. “We have to [keep out spirit up]. We dominated them in the UAE and also in the first Test at Lord’s. I will not say we were not competitive, we were there [at Edgbaston], and there are a lot of positives that we took out from the match,” he said.
“It will be difficult but not impossible. We cannot write ourselves off. We played really good in the first match, we were below average in the second but in the third Test we were competitive. There are players in our team, if they contribute, we have a good chance in the last Test at The Oval,” he added.
On the question of when the veteran will walk away from cricket, Misbah said he will be there till the team needs him.
“I don’t have that sort of fear [of losing] otherwise I would have retired a long time ago. I am always up for challenges and never think of the results. I believe in trying hard and that is what I am here for. I will try my best if the team needs me in this Test match and if Pakistan need me after that, that is another story. I will think about it after this series.”
England name unchanged side for Oval Test against Pakistan
England will name an unchanged team for the final test against Pakistan at The Oval as they seek to wrap up the series, captain Alastair Cook said on Wednesday.
The hosts lost the first test at Lord’s but won the next two in Manchester and Birmingham and will go into the fourth match starting on Thursday full of confidence.
England considered playing leg-spinner Adil Rashid on a pitch that is expected to take turn but will keep faith with off-spinner Moeen Ali.
“I think the pitch will turn but our four seamers are bowling well and Mo took a massive stride in that last game,” Cook told a news conference.
“If we were 3-0 up it might have been different but the series is very much alive. We stuck with Mo because he’s such a valuable member of the side with the runs he has scored and in the last game he bowled really well.”
Steven Finn took two wickets in Pakistan’s second innings at Edgbaston, a welcome return to form for the tall fast bowler who had been under pressure to keep his place. Batsman James Vince was passed fit to play after dislocating a finger in the last test.