Misbah-ul-Haq Khan Niazi (born 28 May 1974 at Mianwali, Punjab) is a Pakistani cricketer. He is the current Test and One Day International (ODI) captain of the Pakistan national cricket team. He is a solid middle-order batsmen best known for his composure with the bat whilst also having the ability to be an aggressive big shot player when required.
Misbah ul Haq was initially noticed for his technique and his temperament in the Tri-nation tournament in Nairobi, Kenya in 2002, as he scored two fifties in the three innings in which he played, however, over the next three Tests he played against Australia, he failed to score more than twenty runs and was soon dumped from the team. Having witnessed Pakistan being eliminated in the opening phase of the 2003 Cricket World Cup, Misbah was part of the changes made to the team in the aftermath of these results, but failed to make much of an impact and was soon dropped again.
At the age of 33, Misbah was chosen to play in the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in 2007, filling the middle order spot vacated by Inzamam-ul-Haq. He had been regularly making runs in Pakistani domestic cricket and in the years before his recall he was consistently one of the top run scorers at each season's end, with his first-class average briefly climbing above 50.
Misbah was one of the stars of the tournament, playing a large part in many thrilling run chases. The first was in the group stage against India where he scored a half century in a tied match. He was run out attempting the winning run off the last ball of the match. In their Super 8s encounter with Australia he was named Man of the Match with an unbeaten 66 off 42 deliveries to see his side home with 5 balls to spare. Another unbeaten innings in the semi final against New Zealand saw Pakistan book a spot in the final against India.
He played an instrumental role in Pakistan's recovery in the inaugural 2007 ICC World Twenty20 final against arch-rivals India, with three sixes. He hit the second legitimate ball of the last over for six. With 6 runs needed to win off 4 remaining balls, Misbah tried to scoop the ball over short fine leg, but was caught out by Sreesanth.
Misbah scored his maiden Test hundred against India at Kolkata in the 2nd Test of the 2007 series. After India managed 616 in their first innings, Pakistan were at 5 for 150 in reply and in danger of following on when Misbah and Kamran Akmal put together a match saving 207 run stand. Misbah finished on 161 not out. In the 3rd & final Test of the series, Misbah made another fluent century this time finishing on 133 not out.
2008 began with some high points for Misbah as he was elevated to the post of Vice – Captain of the Pakistan team and was awarded a Grade A Contract. Since returning to International Cricket for Pakistan, Misbah has gone through a sustained patch of prolific run scoring. In his last 5 Test Match innings for Pakistan, he has notched up 458 runs at a very high batting average of 152.67 against India. In his last 5 ODIs as well, Misbah has made 190 Runs at an average of 63.33 & in Domestic Cricket for Punjab, he has amassed an astounding 586 runs at an average of 195.33 with 2 centuries and his highest first-class score of 208*.He got MBA.
Due to the batting-collapses that Pakistan suffered during England tour 2010 and spot-fixing controversy, Misbah was recalled for the subsequent tour against South Africa in the UAE to lead as a captain of the team for test series. After resignation of Shahid Afridi as test captain and suspended captain Salman Butt due to spot-fixing scandal, Misbah was preferred over Younus Khan, Mohammad Yousuf and Kamran Akmal as captain. Wasim Akram stated that although the decision was surprising if Misbah bats and fields well everything else will go according to plan. Former Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson stated that he believed Misbah has the best cricketing brain within Pakistan and he will do incredibly well in the plans for the captaincy Misbah hit back at those who criticised the decision to appoint him captain and stated that he should be given a chance to prove himself In his first match as test captain he set an example for his team when he scored 71* in a 168 run partnership with Younus Khan this helped Pakistan salvage a draw from the match. Misbah has led Pakistan in 21 test matches, winning 10, losing only 4 with 7 draws. In 2012 Misbah led Pakistan to a clean sweep against the world number one ranked team England and also become only 2nd Pakistani captain to win the Asia Cup after Moin Khan. He has won 6 out of 10 series during his captaincy, winning series against New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, England and South Africa (a feat no Pakistani captain had been able to manage before Misbah), drawing against South Africa and the West Indies, and losing to South Africa and Sri Lanka.