The most capped leader in test match history vs. the captain with the highest win/loss ratio record in test matches and an individual batting average in excess of 60 as captain. Those 2 stats alone tell you all one needs to know about the 2 skippers on show who are very special in their own right. They have both performed formidably and have brought a sense of calm and reassurance to camps which have been inflicted with some of the biggest corruption scandals in sport following shameful acts of their predecessors, Cronje and Salman Butt. Smith is the better batsman in terms of natural ability although never too wise comparing an opener to a middle order player and their averages are not too far apart. Both have improved their side’s ranking, both have won 4 series in a row in recent times, both are out of favour in T20 internationals, despite being available for selection, both have won and been unbeaten against Andrew Strauss’s side in a 3 test affair.
Misbah has outperformed the likes of Vettori, Dilshan, and Strauss in past series as captain who are big names in the world game so can’t count him down, particularly with his determination and self belief which have played a vital part in him prospering above many as a player and leader, despite the technical issues, limited top level experience and restricted talent. We are currently experiencing a phase of phenomenally performing batting skippers, Clarke, Cook, MJ, Misbah have all relished and thrived with added responsibility since coming to the helm. This can only inspire those around them.
This isn’t the first time they are going head to head as they met for a brief affair in the UAE during the November of 2010. Misbah averaged over 100 with 3 successive half centuries, two of them unbeaten, during that as his solidity and perseverance come to the fore. It’s never easy captaining a side when you haven’t had previous international playing experience in those conditions, but with his mental attitude and spirited character you wouldn’t think that would have bothered the Mianwali Barrier much, if at all. Smith knows his side better as he has been in the job for what seems like ever, however, there has been continuity in Misbah’s side and he has captained many of the players in the domestic circuit before captaining them internationally.