KARACHI: Former Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson believes Misbah-ul-Haq has the “best cricket brain” in Pakistan and is well-placed to handle the Test captaincy, surprisingly handed to the 36-year-old last week.

Misbah was thought to be out of national reckoning when he wasn’t picked for the Asia Cup or the tour to England earlier this year. But a disastrous sequence of captaincy appointments left the board, in their own words, with little choice.

Lawson is well-placed having been coach during Misbah’s return to international cricket three years ago during the 2007 World T20, a tournament which he nearly won for Pakistan.

That sparked the most productive phase of his career and it was in Lawson’s time, between 2007 and 2008, that he established himself in the middle order; in five Tests under Lawson, he averaged 78 with two hundreds and a fifty; he averaged 41 in 28 ODIs, and over 67 in the ten Twenty20s Pakistan played with Lawson in charge.

“He definitely has the best cricket brain and intellect in Pakistan cricket,” Lawson said. “He has a statesman-like demeanour which so many Pakistan captains have lacked and he handles adversity analytically not emotionally. He knows how to get the best out of players and he is a winner, note his outstanding domestic record as a leader.”