ICC World Cup 2019: I Still Want to be Back as an Opener for Pakistan Says Mohammad Hafeez
Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez ever since been asked to bat in the middle order for his national team in 50 overs format since the last couple of years has done a great job and cemented his position in the middle order with some vital knocks in the recent past. However, Mohammad Hafeez who started off his career as an opener feels that he is an opener and will like to play as one. However, due to the role given to him by Pakistan, Hafeez has been asked to bat in the middle order to provide solidity.
It was two years back that Mohammad Hafeez was asked to bat down the order. Ever since then Babar Azam has taken up the No 3 position which has made him move down further in the batting order. Since his change of batting position in January 2017 against the Aussies, Hafeez has been pretty impressive and has averaged 37 which is at least 4 runs better than his overall career average.
His strike rate has also increased quite considerably. However, when Mohammad Hafeez was asked about the same, he stated that being an opener he will always look to open the innings for any of the teams he plays. However, he is also ready to play any role which the Pakistan team management asks him to do in the upcoming 2019 World Cup.
“Not really,” he said when asked whether his potential as a middle-order batsman remained hidden as he played as an opener for the major part of his career. “I am an opener and want to play as one. This team management had asked me to play an anchor role at number four because we have new openers who are growing and playing well. I play for the Pakistan team and try to fit in the role which is offered to me.”
Mohammad Hafeez smashed a sensational 57 off 37 deliveries against India in the Champions Trophy final coming in at No 5. He also anchored Pakistan to a famous win over South Africa last year with a knock of 71 of 63 deliveries. These knocks have made him consolidate his position in the middle order. When asked whether batting in the middle order suits him in the twilight of his career, Hafeez said that he is not just a one-dimensional player and can adjust to every situation of the game.
“I am not a one-dimensional player,” he said. “I believe I can play every kind of innings. On many occasions, in my career, I have delivered in tough and pressure situations. Since I have played as an opener for 16-17 years since the start of my career, it becomes very difficult to go down the order. I always want to have more overs so I can take upon the responsibility and win matches for Pakistan.”
The modern-day standards in cricket are quite different from what it was even 10 years back. Hence scoring targets in excess of 300 is a normal thing in the modern generation. However, Pakistan has failed to chase big targets down which is largely due to the lack of power hitters for them in the lower middle order. However, Hafeez feels that the World Cup can be won by executing the basic plans to perfection rather than going hammers and tongs from the outset.
“There’s a lot of talk on it. But, I deny this notion,” he said. “According to me, you have to play a good innings which should dominate the opposition after you have settled. You don’t win matches by slogging. Rather you have to build an innings for which, I feel, we have all the resources. The boys have a sound technique and have the right talent which is being groomed. I feel we have all that is needed [in the batting department] to click in the tournament.”
The all-rounder fractured his thumb while fielding of his own bowling during the Pakistan Super League in February earlier in the year. He was expected to be back for the ODI series against Australia. However, due to some issues surrounding his previous surgery, he had to undergo another one which increased his absence from the team for the next 9 weeks.
“I have fully recovered now,” Hafeez said. “I am getting the time, required to get back into the fold after an injury, and within a week I will be able to play full matches,” Mohammad Hafeez was quoted as saying by the Cricbuzz.
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