Misbah says ‘no disrespect’ in press-up routine
MANCHESTER: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq was adamant his unusual press-up celebrations at Lord’s were in no way aimed at England.
Misbah marked his maiden Test appearance at ‘the home of cricket’ with a first-innings century.
The 42-year-old, who in the process became the oldest player to score a Test century for 82 years, marked his hundred by performing several press-ups.
It was a gesture repeated by the whole Pakistan team in front of the Lord’s Pavilion after they wrapped up a 75-run win, with more than a day to spare, to go 1-0 up in the four-match series.
The press-up routine has become the squad’s way of thanking army staff who put them through a pre-tour boot camp.
“No disrespect for opposition –- they (England) are a fine team and we know their strengths,” Misbah told reporters at Old Trafford on Thursday, a day out from the start of the second Test at the Manchester ground.
“The celebrations were nothing to do with England, only a gesture for those we worked with.”
Meanwhile the skipper confirmed key leg-spinner Yasir Shah would be fit to play in the second Test.
Shah, who in the series opener took a match-winning 10 for 141 — the best figures by a Pakistan bowler in a Lord’s Test — was hit on the shoulder batting in the nets on Wednesday.
But scans revealed no significant damage and Misbah said: “That was a wake-up call for him.
“It was a bit of a concern — but after the scan I think he’s okay. So no worries.”
England off-spinner Moeen Ali took just two wickets at Lord’s. He was milked by Misbah in the first innings, although the veteran batsman did hole out for a duck off Ali second time around.
“I back my ability to attack spinners, and use sweeps.
“That paid off in the first innings. It’s a match between ball and bat, sometimes you win it, sometimes it’s the ball.”
England are set to recall hard-hitting all-rounder Ben Stokes after he missed the first Test with a knee injury.
“They (England) can try to attack Yasir, it’s up to them what they want to do,” said Misbah. “We have to be ready for that challenge and Yasir knows that.”
England could also opt to play two spinners by giving a home debut to leg-break bowler Adil Rashid, all of whose three Test appearances to date came against Pakistan in the UAE last year.
“Adil got five wickets in the first Test in the UAE, so we respect whoever is playing,” Misbah said.
Pakistan’s desire to play two spinners had been hampered by off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez’s 12-month suspension for an illegal action last year.
Hafeez has yet to undergo a re-test on his action, with a knee injury during the World Twenty20 in India in March hampering his bowling training.
However, he could undergo a re-test during the gap between the end of the second Test and the start of the third at Edgbaston on August 3.
“That could give us a big advantage, if we have him (bowling) when the opposition have four or five left-handers,” said Misbah.
“He couldn’t work on it before the injury, so now he needs time to get ready before he is tested.”
Both Hafeez and fellow opener Shan Masood struggled against the new ball at Lord’s, with Hafeez’s first-innings 40 the pair’s top score.
“That can happen in these conditions against the new ball,” said Misbah.
“Don’t be impatient, we have to give them confidence and back them. We’ve got to believe they can deliver, that’s the only way.”