Lahore, July 6: The slew of scandals that Pakistan has faced in the last few years is extremely taxing on the morale of the team. Such goes the view of present Test and ODI captain Misbah-ul-Haq. The outfit has indeed been through a tumultuous time which has taken its toll on the players, opines Misbah.
"It is a mental torture to go through such things and it affects your performance," Misbah said in an interview with a local television channel. "It has been a torture at times because these things do affect our image and people talk about it. There are people who pass remarks on the roads and it affects you."
The spot-fixing scandal in August last year was perhaps the most cataclysmic issue, but a bulk of the mess has emerged from the yawning rift between the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and its players. Seven of the key men in the outfit were banned last March after a suspiciously disastrous tour of Australia, even though some have been reinstated.
Since then, Shahid Afridi and Danish Kaneria have taken the PCB to court in different cases. Lately, a conflict with the board, led to Afrid's sacking and the installation of Misbah as both Test and ODI captain. In light of all this trouble, Misbah points to the need for a mediating body, such as a player's association which can help resolve such disputes speedily and amicably.
"A players' association with the right people in place can do a lot in Pakistan cricket," Misbah said. "It can improve communication between players, management and board. It can educate and guide players on contentious issues. It can lead to a reduction in the controversies and scandals that hit Pakistan cricket."
Misbah also elucidated the requirement for players to seek the consultation of legal eagles in order to thoroughly understand the clauses of their central contracts. The contracts have come in for much controversy with several players claiming the terms are too constrictive.
"I would advise all players to consult their elders or even lawyers if they don't understand the clauses of the contracts," Misbah said. "It is a binding agreement with the board. Once you sign it then it is no use complaining afterwards about it."
Misbah added that Pakistan cricket can ill-afford breakdowns or discrepancies in communication as these could lead to such ugly stand-offs like the one that cost Shahid Afridi his captaincy. After all, a simple disagreement between coach Waqar Younis and Afridi snowballed into a major conflict.
"I think it is important for a captain, coach or manager and players to know their job descriptions and responsibilities. They must know where they stand."
Misbah, who recently turned 37 says that his passion for the game transcends age. "I am mentally up for international cricket. As long as I am performing I will carry on," he said.