Don’t fear Murali, Misbah tells Pakistan
In-form batsman Misbah-ul-Haq told Pakistan not to fear Sri Lanka’s
world record wicket taker Muttiah Muralitharan when the two sides clash
in the World Cup on Saturday.
“We should keep it simple, play tough cricket and not be overawed by
their home advantage or their bowlers. We have played Muralitharan well
in the past,” said Misbah, of the off-spinner who has 521 wickets in 342
Both Sri Lanka - Cup co-hosts with India and Bangladesh - and
Pakistan got off to flying starts by winning their opening matches at
Hambantota by over 200-run margins and look set for a Colombo thriller,
already a sell-out.
“It’s a vital match for both sides,” said Misbah, who singled out
Lasith Malinga as well as Muralitharan as a key bowler for Sri Lanka.
“No doubt, both are world class bowlers, they have been doing it for
so long. But we’ve played them quite a lot, and players understand their
strengths and the plan is to keep it simple,” said Misbah.
“In our part of the world we play spinners well. Younis Khan plays
spinners well and some of younger batsmen too. There are quite a few
guys in Pakistan who bowl with his (Murali’s) action so I am sure we can
handle him,” said Misbah.
“Sri Lanka have been very consistent, especially in the last few
years, playing good cricket and in home conditions they are a very tough
side. So we need good planning and a fighting spirit to beat them,” said
The 36-year-old Misbah, who contemplated retirement in June last year
after being overlooked for Pakistan’s tour of England, regained his spot
and is crucial to the team’s hopes at the World Cup.
Misbah entered the World Cup on the back of an excellent one-day
series against New Zealand and has hit six consecutive half-centuries
since taking over as Test captain in October last year.
He made his belated World Cup debut with a gritty 69-ball 65 — one of
four half-centuries — in Pakistan’s 317-7 against Kenya in their opening
match which they won by a convincing 205-run margin.
And Misbah wants to keep improving.
“I have always said it’s important for any player that when you get
some self-belief back and some confidence returns, these are the main
things for someone to succeed,” said Misbah.