Misbah can come out of the block, literally.

With Pakistan bowling, keeping and opening vows look to be sorted within the space of two games, its the batting line up that looks to be the last thing that needs tweaking. Misbah has been under fire for playing too many dot balls. Why he does that and should he continue to do that, those have been bigger talking points than the discussion about Pakistan’s chances of winning the World Cup itself. Without judging if its the right thing to do or not, there looks to be a way to avoid it altogether and kill the debate for good.With Sarfaraz and Ahmed at the top and Younus at number 3 to provide mature touch to the proceedings, it has given Pakistan an opportunity to review its batting plan. Its high time for Pakistan to split its batting into multiple phases and define set roles for all the batters. Till now, Misbah’s biggest concern has been the fear of team getting bowled out without playing all of the allotted overs. This fear is exactly what made him resort to his ultra defensive batting display and staying away from hitting his way out of tough situations like almost every other batsman and teams do these days.With Younus at number 3, he can be assigned the role of shepherding the top 4 batsmen and first 25 to 30 overs of the innings. Haris Sohail should be placed at number 4 and make this sub team of top 4 to play out at least 30 overs to lay the foundation for the hitters to come. Sohaib/Umar Akmal can then be pushed at number 5 to go out their and exhibit their natural game without having the fear of team getting bowled out.Misbah can then come at 6 and play freely and shepherd the second set of batsmen starting from number 5 till number 8/9. With Afridi and Wahab Riaz in good hitting form, Misbah could provide the perfect company to them to go all out and if required, he can go for big hits for himself as well. In case things don’t go according to the plan and top 4 fail to occupy the crease for 25 to 30 overs mark, Misbah can come out at number 5 with the ‘luxury’ of resorting to his typical safety first batting style. In such a case, it would have already been concluded that the batting line up was in trouble when he went into his shell instead of his cautious approach making the whole team and the batsmen around him to feel the pressure and eventually throwing it away.

For Misbah to come out of his dead-block mindset, he looks to need surety of team not getting bowled out and for that to happen Misbah has to see that it is not happening. That makes his arrival to the crease after 25 to 30 overs as the only option to make him feel that there is no fear of team getting bowled out. Its time he realise that team needs Misbah-the-hitter-and-finisher more than Misbah-the-immovable-wall. With Younus at the top with similar batting approach, Misbah should trust his abilities and trust Younus to be the insurance against the all-out scenarios.

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