Lahore: Retiring Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq wants his teammates to play fearless cricket in the upcoming ODI World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, and said lifting the prestigious trophy would be a fitting farewell gift for him.
"My message to all my players is not to think about defeat and just go out and play fearless cricket in the World Cup," said Misbah, who has announced his decision to retire from ODIs after the World Cup.
"Obviously I would love to end my ODI career on a high and nothing could be greater than winning the World Cup. But right now my ambition is to do well in the tournament and also inspire and motivate other players with my performances," he said.
The veteran batsman also made it clear he had announced his decision to retire from ODI under no duress. "There is no pressure on me nor was I bothered by the criticism I have faced. I took the decision to retire from ODIs with a very open and positive mind," he told a news conference here today.
"I will go out without any regrets." Misbah said Pakistan's World Cup-bound team has some exciting talents and there was ample time for them to go and adjust to the conditions in Australia and New Zealand.
The Pakistan captain also made it clear that the secret to his success as captain was his team. "I am successful because of the way these players have performed over the years. They gave me and the team 100 per cent," Misbah said.
"Cricket is everything for me. Cricket has been my top priority since the past 20 years, but sadly all good things must come to an end," he added. Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan, who was also present during the press conference, also made it clear that it was Misbah's personal decision to retire from ODIs after the World Cup.
"He came to us and informed his decision and we respected his decision and wished him well. We are happy that he will continue to play Test cricket after the World Cup," Shaharyar said.
The PCB chief also ruled out any chance of the board trying to convince Misbah or Shahid Afridi, who has also decided to retire from ODIs after the mega-event, to change their minds.
"Afridi didn't take us into confidence before announcing his decision but Misbah did and we wish them both well," he said. Shaharyar also refused to discuss who would take over as ODI captain from Misbah but made it clear it would be a young player.