The Pakistan batting great believes the PSL has changed the landscape of Pakistan cricket in recent times.
“I believe that the rise of the younger players has a lot to do with the PSL. We always knew that countries with their own T20 leagues such as India, where the players were getting a great opportunity to play alongside top players, were doing well at the international level,” Misbah said in an interview with PakPassion.net.
“On top of that, the gap between normal domestic cricket and the international level was too huge and that problem needed to be addressed properly. Thankfully, with three years of the PSL tournament now under our belts, we can see the difference in the way the Pakistani youngsters are performing in a confident manner and adapting so well at the international level,” the 44-year-old added.
While crediting the PSL for the emergence of the youngsters, Misbah also praised head coach Mickey Arthur for taking some hard decisions for the betterment of the team.
“I think Mickey Arthur has done an excellent job in creating a side with so many youngsters settling in well into a team where there is a great emphasis on a culture of discipline and where fitness is an important factor as well. Along the way, he has had to take some hard decisions and looking at the recent results, they are all paying off for the benefit of Pakistan cricket,” Misbah stated.
The former Pakistan skipper scored over 5, 000 runs in 75 Tests appearances for his country before calling time on his international career in 2017. He continues to take part in the PSL and led his side Islamabad United to the title in the 2018 edition.
Among them was pacer Ishant Sharma’s magnificent performance in the second innings.
The 29-year-old picked up his eighth five-wicket haul in Test cricket, with his figures of 5-51 helping India bowl out the hosts for 183 in their second dig.
In the end, Ishant was reprimanded for his send-off to Dawid Malan and docked 15 per cent of his match fees along with being awarded a demerit point for his misdemeanour.
For so long in his 83-match Test career, Ishant has been known as an ‘unlucky’ bowler who can bowl some devastating spells without picking up a wicket.
At Edgbaston, his perseverance was rewarded in the form of six wickets overall and the India pacer could not be more happy.
“Actually, I got tired of the tag. I am bowling well but my wicket column has always not been very good. It feels very good because I put in a lot of work. Playing for your country and taking five wickets, that too in the second innings, feels nice,” the pacer stated.
The Delhi man has credited his stint with county outfit Sussex this summer – after he missed out on an Indian Premier League (IPL) contract – as a key reason for his Edgbaston display.
“Playing County made a huge difference. In a way, I was disappointed (not playing IPL 2018), but it was good for me. I played for Sussex and bowled with the Dukes ball. One good thing was although I only played four matches, there were overs behind me, I bowled around 150-200 overs. I played one-dayers also, so the experience was really good,” Ishant explained.
Ishant’s five-wicket haul at Edgbaston was his seventh such instance in overseas Tests for India. He will now be hoping to repeat his 2014 heroics at Lord’s as the ‘home of cricket’ gets ready to host the second Test between England and India starting August 9.
Ishant’s best-ever Test figures of 7-74 had come at Lord’s in the tour of 2014 as India scripted a historic 95-run win.
Pope’s promotion is one of two changes, with the other enforced as Chris Woakes returns in place of Ben Stokes. The Durham all-rounder is absent for the second Specsavers Test while he attends Bristol Crown Court on a charge of affray.
National selector Ed Smith, who has already made a clutch of bold calls since beginning his tenure this summer, has again placed his faith in youth by selecting Pope. He is the same age as Surrey team-mate Sam Curran, who was England’s man of the match in the thrilling 31-run win at Edgbaston.
Less than 24 hours later, Pope, also a wicketkeeper but in the Test frame as yet only as a specialist batsman – has entered the equation on the back of his outstanding county form so far this season.
Smith said: “Ollie Pope has made an exceptional start to his first-class career.
“He has reached one thousand first-class runs in just 15 matches and is the first division’s ‘stand-out’ batsman this season with 684 runs at 85.
“The selection panel believe that Ollie’s performances and character suggest he is well-suited to international cricket.”
Pope has hit three championship hundreds this summer, with a top score of 158 not out, and also an unbeaten half-century in England Lions’ wide-margin win over India A at Worcester last month.
His chances of making a Lord’s debut appear strong, although England could conceivably field both seamer Woakes and off-spinner Moeen Ali as two all-round options and rejig their batting order.
Middlesex batsman Malan has been short of runs this summer, with only 74 in five Test innings – after which Smith appears to have indicated an extended absence may be in the offing.
He said: “Dawid has not found his best rhythm this season, and it may be that his game is better suited to overseas conditions.
“Ben Stokes is unavailable – but Chris Woakes, with some extra matches and practices under his belt, can now return to the England squad after injury.”
England Squad (v India at Lord’s)
JE Root (Captain), MM Ali, JM Anderson, JM Bairstow (wkt), SCJ Broad, JC Buttler, AN Cook, SM Curran, KK Jennings, OJD Pope, JA Porter, AU Rashid, CR Woakes