It seems age is just a number for serving General Misbah-ul-Haq.
For two years now his detractors have been asking him questions when will he retire? But with his tenth hundred — sixth oldest to register a Test hundred — Misbah has answered his criticis: I can still go on and on.
That military training at Abbottabad has done a world of good for Misbah and has left an indelible impression of the army. After taking that single off Steven Finn to reach the three-figure mark, he salute like a general and then came an amazing ten push ups.
“I had promised my team that I will do ten push ups if I complete my tenth Test hundred,” said Misbah after the day’s play guiding Pakistan to an impressive 282-6.
His 110 was also an attempt to prove that winning the toss and bat first was correct. Only one team has lost a Test at Lord’s in the last 22 Tests after batting first — that was the West Indies — since 2006.
Misbah became the oldest player to score a Test century for 82 years as he helped his side recover against England and also the oldest captain to knock a hundred in cricket’s history.
Those ten push ups were also a silent reminder of his supreme fitness, a silent way to tell his detractors that what else they want?
“Age never bothers me but at times it feels irritating when people mention my age, 40, 41, 42 and I think it will go on and on,” said Misbah, who never got awed by the occasion of playing his first, and probably the last, Test at Lord’s.
When are you retiring? That is the most common question asked in press conferences, media talks and tv shows. But Misbah never seethes, he just smiles and scores runs.
“It’s my job to score runs so I am not doing anything special. The occasion was special because this was the first time I got a chance to play at the prestigious Lord’s and I am thankful to Almighty that I have made this occasion memorable.”
Just last year Misbah was reluctant to carry on. After the series win against England there were indications that he will call it a quit but Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan requested him to carry on as Pakistan had tough tours to England, New Zealand and Australia.
It was in May this year that Misbah decided that he will play on until the Australia tour early next year.
But knives were already out and his career depended on his performance on the England tour.
“It was a tough decision to make but I consulted my family, thought over it days in, days out and only after realizing that the Test team needs me I decided to give it a few more months but I know that all those who want me to quit will thrash me if I don’t score.
“IT was a lucky day for me that I was dropped (on 16 by Joe Root off Stuart Broad) and then I escaped a run out on 58 but then I got the rhythm and here I am not out on 110.”
Misbah felt if Pakistan manages to reach 400 it will put pressure on England.
“If we managed 400 plus then it will be as per our plans because we had thought that if we score big it will put pressure on England and then in the last innings leggie Yasir Shah will come into equation.”
Misbah played down his supreme fitness, instead.
“The whole team has worked hard on fitness because this tour is very important for the whole team,’ said Misbah.
With senior man Younis Khan goned at 77, Misbah had hoped Asad Shafiq would stay longer and help him strengthen the innings.
Together with Shafiq (73), Misbah put on 148 for the fifth wicket and snatched the benefit from England.
“I must admire the way Asad batted. He has been praised as one of our best equipped batsmen, technique-wise and more often than not he proves that. Sadly he got out off a very good ball when England took the second new ball.
“I hope Sarfaraz and my tail help me add those 118 runs for 400 and then our bowling has to give us a lead.”
The foundation is set by Misbah as he became the Lord at Lord’s.