World Cup down-under: A Test of Misbah's Leadership

Dunkwart A Rustow in the book “Philosophers and Kings” said that it is pertinent to ask to who is leading whom from where to where? The book is riveting to say the least for students of leadership since many academics have pitched-in their thoughts. However , for the consumption of the readers let us dissect the above statement in light of the uphill task that the men in green are to face in a matter of 51 days : The World Cup.

Indeed, the most coveted event in cricket happens to be the World Cup; 4 years are worth waiting for as teams lock horns to get their hands on the trophy. Right from 1975's first edition to that of 2011, the skippers of the teams that clinched top spots (not necessarily the title) performed exceedingly well.

The 11th edition of ICC's premier event begins on the 14th of February in Australia and New Zealand. The two trans-Tasman rivals last hosted the World Cup way back in 1992. the green shirts out of nowhere won the title under the inspirational and charismatic leadership(Weberian sense too) of the legendary Imran Khan.

The Pakistan Cricket Board has named Misbah Ul Haq as skipper for the mega event. One could argue and bicker over it, but the fact is that in him the board has reposed confidence. Leadership is a function of the leader; the led and the cause. Hence, it is about Misbah-Ul-Haq , the team and the World Cup.

Misbah Ul Haq, a man known for his doggedness and excellent temperament took over the reins of ODI cricket on the 28th of May, 2011. He has led the team continuously since then. He certainly has been a vital cog in Pakistan's fledgling batting line up, amassing runs when others fail to deliver. Under his command the ODI performances have been oscillating from good to pathetic. Much to his credit, he has been a prolific run-scorer , but has been chastised on many occasions. At times the criticism was justifiable because if we look closely, there has been a negative paradigm shift in Pakistan's ODI approach. Certainly, the captain is the most important corollary and hence the brunt of the credit and the opprobrium has to fall on him. However , to be fair to this dedicated gentlemen , we must admit that the troops under his command let him down on many instances.

With great powers come great responsibilities ; Misbah knows this well and has never shirked his duties. The task is an uphill one. He will be leading a mediocre, yet dangerous team. The skipper is short of resources in his arsenal. What can he do to eke-out the best from his boys ? What he must do to achieve an elusive glory , something which Pakistan as a country really needs. A country beset with terrorism and all other kinds of epidemics find solace by seeing the men in green overhaul opponents that come their way.

Misbah realizes the magnitude of the World Cup. He is the linchpin of the batting as aforementioned, but there is always room for improvement. He needs to come up and raise the bar, in both his batting and captaincy.

When the going gets tough; Misbah has to show the way. He has to be aggressive and proactive tactically. He has been found wanting in regards his approach, though he is not the only one to be blamed. Decision-making power is essential to the success of a leader; Misbah needs to think on his feet. There is a need for more flexibility.

Yes, vagaries in situations demand leaders to change their tactics. Attack is the best form of defense. Misbah has to imbibe this spirit in his team. (Mix caution with aggression)

Pakistan is beleaguered with injuries and suspensions, which include the likes of Saeed Ajmal and Muhammad Hafeez. This will certainly dent the likelihood of the team pulling off the cup, but the picture is not as bleak as portrayed by the chairman.

The captain has many highly talented match winners in his armory. The mindset needs to be tinkered with. Experienced players like Shahid Afridi must take the mantle of responsibility and help their skipper. Juniors must be given full confidence and they should compliment the seniors. The captain must let them be themselves. Greatness lies in doing something when it is most desired. The careers of the likes of Haris Sohail and Yasir Shah can take a great-leap forward if they are able to make a mark in the World Cup.

A combination of bold leadership; response from the players and luck can help the men in green replicate history. But Misbah must rise to the occasion; he must take the bait and adopt audacity as important element in his leadership. However , his soldiers must stand up to his call.

All the best skipper


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