Mohammad Hafeez Age, Biography, career, stats, Ranking & News

Mohammad Hafeez

Zimbabwe captain Andy Flower prepares to reverse sweep ©Reuters
Zimbabwe captain Andy Flower prepares to reverse sweep ©Reuters

Andy Flower Decides Against Coaching Pakistan Due To His Busy Commitments For T20 Leagues

Andy Flower, former Zimbabwe cricketer and renowned coach has decided against coaching the Pakistan team due to his busy schedule. According to sources, the previous Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) regime led by Chairman Ehsan Mani were looking to replace the current Head Coach, Misbah-ul Haq, with Andy Flower, after Pakistan’s recent T20I series defeat against England.

Andy Flower, who is the head coach of PSL franchise Multan Sultans, CPL’s Saint Lucia Kings, T10’s Delhi Bulls, The Hundred’s Trent Rockets while also being the assistant coach of IPL side Punjab Kings, has told the PCB that he is not interested in coaching any international side, at the moment, as he is more inclined towards franchise cricket.

Andy Flower
Andy Flower (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Andy Flower’s Refusal Makes Task Of Appointing A Foreign Coach Harder

After Andy Flower’s refusal, the task of appointing a foreign coach for the Pakistan team has become difficult. Despite Ehsan Mani’s exit, Misbah-ul-Haq is not in the good books of the PCB as the likely new Chairman Ramiz Raja is also in favour of appointing a foreign coach. Although sources added that Misbah-ul-Haq’s removal is unlikely to take place before this year’s T20 World Cup, due to lack of time for the new coach to adjust before the mega event.

Ramiz Raja. (Credits: Twitter)
Ramiz Raja. (Credits: Twitter)

Misbah-ul-Haq was appointed as the head coach and chief selector in September 2019, with strong backing from Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Wasim Khan. The PCB’s top brass considered Misbah-ul-Haq a ‘yes man’, however, that was not the case which strained relations between the two parties. Misbah-ul-Haq is likely to keep his job till the conclusion of the 2021 T20 World Cup.

Andy Flower was the mainstay of the Zimbabwe side for more than a decade and represented the Zimbabwe cricket team in 63 Tests, and 213 ODI matches. While he amassed 4794 runs in the longest format at an excellent average of 51.55, he also plundered 6786 runs in the ODI format of the game at an average in excess of 35. He has scored 16 centuries in both Tests and ODIs put together.

Misbah-ul-Haq’s Tenure Has Been Far From Ideal

Misbah-ul-Haq had voiced his opinion on various matters which did not go down well with the PCB officials. He was also part of the contingent, including cricketers Azhar Ali and Mohammad Hafeez, which met Prime Minister Imran Khan and expressed their reservations over the new domestic system. That meeting was the start of Misbah-ul-Haq’s downfall as, soon after, he stepped down as the chief selector in October last year.

Misbah-ul-Haq- the head coach of the Pakistan cricket team.© AFP
Misbah-ul-Haq- the head coach of the Pakistan cricket team.© AFP

Pakistan’s performance during Misbah-ul-Haq’s tenure has been far from ideal, winning 16 and losing 13 matches out of 34, as the team slipped from first to the fourth position in the ICC T20 Rankings. He was also instrumental in removing wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed as captain, which disturbed the team’s combination. Apart from a second-string South Africa team, Pakistan was not able to register wins against top sides.

As far as Test cricket is concerned, Pakistan has won seven, lost six, and drew three out of 16 matches. Their current ranking is number five in the longest format of the game. Meanwhile, in ODI cricket, Pakistan won six out of 11 matches while losing on four occasions whereas one match ended in a tie. They are currently ranked sixth in 50-over cricket and were recently whitewashed, three-nil, by a second-string England side.

At present, Flower is associated with multiple teams as a coach, he is the head coach of Multan Sultans (PSL), St Lucia Kings (CPL), Trent Rockets (The Hundred) and assistant coach of Punjab Kings (IPL).

Andy Flower’s denial to take the position of the head coach will be a difficult task for PCB to recruit a foreign coach that also when the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 is not even two months away. If we believe some sources, then Misbah-ul-Haq’s removal is unlikely to take place at least before the T20 World Cup this year.

Misbah-ul-Haq was appointed as the head coach and chief selector in September 2019, with strong backing from Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Wasim Khan. Later in October 2020, he stepped down from the selector’s role and purely is focused on coaching the team.

BCCI (File Photo| PTI)
BCCI (File Photo| PTI)

BCCI Writes To ICC Urging It Not To Recognize KPL

BCCI has written to the ICC urging it to not recognize the Kashmir Premier League (KPL), the Pakistan domestic T20 tournament which is due to begin on August 6.
The PCB expressed its unhappiness over what it considered the BCCI’s attempts to interfere in the PCB’s internal affairs. That was based on reports that the BCCI had been in touch with a number of other Full Members to try and prevent players from those countries from appearing in the league.

BCCI Writes To The ICC Urging Not To Recognize The Kashmir Premier League

Herschelle Gibbs, the former South Africa opener, who is expected to play in the league, said on Twitter that he had been threatened that he wouldn’t be allowed entry “into India for any cricket-related work. Ludicrous.”
But it has emerged now that the BCCI had also reached out to the ICC. The basis of the BCCI’s complaint seems to center around the status of Kashmir as a disputed territory – and whether matches can be played in such territories – and its central place in the long-running dispute between the two countries.
The status of Kashmir has been the cause of several wars between India and Pakistan from the moment India gained independence and Pakistan was created in 1947. Both countries control parts of the region but govern it separately. Political and diplomatic ties between the two countries have fluctuated over the years, and are currently going through a prolonged low.
Former South Africa opening batsman Herschelle Gibbs. (Getty Images)
Former South Africa opening batsman Herschelle Gibbs. (Getty Images)
Relations between the two boards generally follow on from the political atmosphere of the day, and this latest spat will merely exacerbate an already strained relationship. But there would appear to be little the ICC can do about this. Approval for such domestic leagues is given by the Full Member country in which the tournament is being played, and not the ICC, and the KPL has the PCB’s approval. There is also nothing in any ICC regulations about matches in disputed territories.
The KPL is a six-team franchise-model league, PCB-approved, and to be played at the Muzaffarabad cricket stadium in Pakistan-administered Kashmir from August 6. Squads were selected in a draft last month and, according to the organizers, would be captained by Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Kamran Akmal, and Shadab Khan.
The BCCI’s concern centers, however, on the foreign players signed up with the league, on the basis that international players turn the tournament into something more than just a domestic event and give it international legitimacy of sorts.

Monty Panesar Pulls Out Of KPL

Foreign players on the roster are mostly retired and include Monty Panesar, Matt Prior, Phil Mustard, Tino Best, Tillakaratne Dilshan, and Herschelle Gibbs. Through conversations with several boards, the BCCI has made it clear that these players would be considered rebels and would be treated by them as would the participants of any unrecognized league.
Monty Panesar declared that he will not be participating in Pakistan’s ‘Kashmir Premier League’ and also warned the other participating players to think about the consequences first before taking part in the Pakistan Occupied ‘Kashmir Premier League’.
Monty Panesar pulls out of Kashmir Premier League after BCCI threat following Herschelle Gibbs statement
Monty Panesar pulls out of Kashmir Premier League after BCCI threat following Herschelle Gibbs statement (Source: Twitter)

The two sides have not played each other in a bilateral series since 2012-13 or a Test match since 2007-08, though they do face off regularly in ICC events. PCB has accused the BCCI of not honoring their agreement, signed in 2014, to play bilateral series between the two nations. PCB claims that this has caused large commercial losses to them.

According to the agreement signed in 2014, India and Pakistan were scheduled to play six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023 with four of those to be hosted by the PCB. However, BCCI has claimed that they have no authority on the same and have to follow the Indian government orders, that have prohibited any bilateral cricket between the neighbors, following which PCB claimed losses.

Former South Africa opening batsman Herschelle Gibbs. (Getty Images)
Former South Africa opening batsman Herschelle Gibbs. (Getty Images)

Herschelle Gibbs Terms It Unnecessary Of The BCCI To Stop Him From Playing In KPL But BCCI Says They Are Within Their Rights

Herschelle Gibbs, former South African batsman, and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) were slammed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) saying the Indian board is well within its rights to take decisions with respect to the cricketing ecosystem in the country.

This response from the BCCI comes on the same day when former Proteas’ batsman Herschelle Gibbs criticised the Indian board for allegedly stopping him to play in the Kashmir Premier League.

Herschelle Gibbs, one of the accused in the 2000 match-fixing scandal, has signed up to play for KPL franchise Overseas Warriors. (AP File Photo)
Herschelle Gibbs, one of the accused in the 2000 match-fixing scandal, has signed up to play for KPL franchise Overseas Warriors. (AP File Photo)

Herschelle Gibbs Termed It Unnecessary Of BCCI To Bring Their Political Agenda With Pakistan But BCCI Is Within Their Rights To Take Decisions: Official

Herschelle Gibbs plans to play for the Overseas Warriors in the six-team Kashmir Premier League, which runs from August 6-17 and includes several retired international cricketers.

“While one can neither confirm nor deny the veracity of the statement made by a former player who has figured in a CBI investigation into match-fixing earlier, the PCB must understand that even if Herschelle Gibbs’ statement is assumed to be true, the BCCI would be well within their rights to take decisions with respect to the cricketing ecosystem in India.

“The fact that the Indian cricketing ecosystem is the most sought after for cricketing opportunities globally, should not be envied by the PCB,” a BCCI official said.

PCB is coming across as confused. Just the way the decision to not allow players of Pakistani origin to participate in the IPL cannot be construed as interfering in the internal affairs of an ICC member, the decision, if any, to allow or disallow anyone from participating in any manner with cricket within India is purely an internal matter of the BCCI,” the official added.

Herschelle Gibbs have made some serious allegations on BCCI.
Herschelle Gibbs has made some serious allegations on BCCI.

Herschelle Gibbs, one of the accused in the 2000 match-fixing scandal, has signed up to play for KPL franchise Overseas Warriors. The official also said that the PCB can take up the matter with the ICC, but in the end, everyone knows why the Pakistan board is behaving this way, and what is motivating their actions.

“They are welcome to raise the matter at the ICC and one can understand where this is coming from but the question that they need to ask themselves is whether it is on account of government interference in their working since the PM of Pakistan is officially their Patron as per their own constitution. It is time to consider whether this issue also ought to be raised at the ICC,” said the official.

Earlier on Saturday, former Proteas batsman Herschelle Gibbs took to Twitter to say: “Completely unnecessary of the @BCCI to bring their political agenda with Pakistan into the equation and trying to prevent me playing in the @kpl_20. Also threatening me saying they won’t allow me entry into India for any cricket related work. Ludicrous.”

After this, the PCB also issued a statement, saying: “The PCB believes the BCCI has once again breached international norms and the spirit of the gentleman’s game by interfering in internal affairs of the ICC Members as the KPL has been approved by the PCB.”

Not impressed by this statement, the BCCI official added, “The PCB would do well to peruse the ICC’s classification of official cricket. In the eventuality that a retired player is participating as a player in a tournament, it would not quite be official cricket and any permission granted would be moot. I am not really sure how they are reading this to mean what they are intending it to mean, but then the PCB‘s positioning is always bemusing. They should allow cricket to entertain rather than their decision making.”

Tensions have been high between the neighboring countries Pakistan and India since New Delhi unilaterally changed the semiautonomous status of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, which is split between Pakistan and India but claimed by both in its entirety.

Pakistan has reduced diplomatic ties with India since then, vowing there will be no peace talks with India until the 2019 move under which New Delhi divided the Indian-administered part of the Muslim-majority Kashmir into two federally governed territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh — is reversed by the Indian government.

Pakistan also wants Kashmiri people to be given the right to self-determination under a 1948 U.N. resolution that called for a referendum on whether Kashmiris wanted to merge with Pakistan or India.

Kashmir Premier League’s Inaugural Edition Will Be Held With 6 Teams From August 6-16

The tournament is likely to see six teams- Overseas Warriors, Rawalakot Hawks, Muzaffarabad Tigers, Bagh Stallions, Kotli Lions, and Mirpur Royals. Players like Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi, Shadab Khan, Shoaib Malik, Herschelle Gibbs, Monty Panesar, and Kamran Akmal are expected to participate in this team.

Wasim Akram (right) and Shahid Afridi (left) Getty Images
Wasim Akram (right) and Shahid Afridi (left) Getty Images

The first KPL edition is scheduled to be held with six teams from August 6 to 16. Five of those teams will represent cities in PoK, while the sixth franchise, Overseas Warriors, is reserved for overseas Kashmiris. The tournament’s launch saw a mix of politicians and former Pakistan cricketers.

Wasim Akram is KPL’s founding vice-president, while Shahid Afridi is the league’s brand ambassador. Inzamam-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, and Abdul Razzaq were present at the launch as well.

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby

Pakistan Should Give Youngsters Longer Run To Prove Themselves, Says Imam-ul-Haq

Imam-ul-Haq has explained that one of the things that are pulling down Pakistan cricket is the unwillingness to give the younger players a long rope.

During the 1990s and 2000s, the contests between India and Pakistan used to be pretty evenly-matches. However, over the last few years, the contests have become a lot more one-sided. While India has developed a strong pool of players, Pakistan has not been able to do that at the same level as their rivals.

Imam-ul-Haq © AFP
Imam-ul-Haq © AFP

Imam-ul-Haq Spoke To Eoin Morgan And Virat Kohli As He Feels Pakistan Is Lacking As Their Cricketers Isn’t Given A Proper Run To Prove Themselves

Opening batsman Imam-Ul-Haq has explained that one of the things bothering Pakistan cricket is the unwillingness to give the young players a long rope, something that cricketing nations like India and England have excelled at.

India’s pool of players is vast and highly talented, whereas England isn’t much behind. Pakistan, on the other hand, have depth in their line-up of their youngsters, but Imam-ul-Haq reckons the management needs to show faith in their abilities and give them considerable opportunities to help them nurture.

Eoin Morgan, Virat Kohli
Eoin Morgan, Virat Kohli
Image Credit: Getty Images.

“I have spoken to Eoin Morgan and Virat Kohli, two of the most successful captains in white-ball cricket. I have heard from them and their players that the cricketers get a full go and a proper run to prove themselves. I think this is where we are lacking,” Imam told sports presenter Sawera Pasha on the YouTube show ‘Cricast’.

“I think if we find that consistency, we will get better results. In South Africa, we managed to chase 330, because the core of the ODI side has been the same for a while.”

 Pakistan batsman Imam-ul-Haq has opined that players being underpaid compared to nations like India is one reason youngsters cannot express themselves freely out in the middle. Like the IPL, Pakistan has its own T20 league (PSL). However, according to Imam-ul-Haq, players don’t get paid enough, be it in the franchise or domestic cricket.
The 25-year-old revealed that he has even spoken to legends like Eoin Morgan and Virat Kohli on why their (white-ball) teams are incredibly successful and how they managed to maintain consistency.

Imam-ul-Haq: IPL Has Made A Big Difference In India

Another reason why Pakistan is behind in terms of producing quality young cricketers such as India points out Imam is not getting the chance to play the IPL. Pakistan cricketers have been banned from playing the IPL, with their only appearance coming in the first-ever edition back in 2008. Imam-ul-Haq says a tournament of the calibre of IPL has gone a long way in shaping youngsters.

“So when they face these bowlers in international cricket, there is less of a mental barrier. For Pakistan, a player is directly drafted in from domestic cricket, so he finds it difficult to make that immediate adjustment,” Imam explained.
Sohail Tanvir IPL
Sohail Tanvir IPL. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Apart from Pakistan’s Sohail Tanvir (Rajasthan Royals), other Pakistan cricketers like Shahid Afridi (Deccan Chargers), Shoaib Malik (Delhi Daredevils), Shoaib Akhtar (Kolkata Knight Riders), Misbah-ul-Haq (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Mohammad Asif (Delhi Daredevils), Kamran Akmal (Rajasthan Royals), Salman Butt (Kolkata Knight Riders), Umar Gul (Kolkata Knight Riders), Younis Khan (Rajasthan Royals), Mohammad Hafeez (Kolkata Knight Riders) participated in IPL 2008.

Sohail Tanvir represented Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the inaugural edition of the T20 Championship and scripted history by claiming the Purple Cap. Rajasthan Royals was on a roll during IPL 2008 as they became the first franchise to lift the elite Trophy. Sohail Tanvir played a major role in Rajasthan’s success as he picked 22 wickets in 11 matches including a best of 6 for 14, which stood as an IPL record for many years.

Sohail Tanveer. (Photo credit should read CHRIS RATCLIFFE/AFP via Getty Images)
Sohail Tanveer. (Photo credit should read CHRIS RATCLIFFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Sohail Tanvir Maintains He Initially Had No Idea What IPL Was

Sohail Tanvir, a former Pakistan seamer was one among a handful of Pakistan players who received a chance to feature in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Sohail Tanvir represented Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the inaugural edition of the T20 Championship and scripted history by claiming the Purple Cap.

Rajasthan Royals was on a roll during IPL 2008 as they became the first franchise to lift the elite Trophy. Sohail Tanvir played a major role in Rajasthan’s success as he picked 22 wickets in 11 matches including a best of 6 for 14, which stood as an IPL record for many years.

Sohail Tanvir IPL
Sohail Tanvir IPL. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Sohail Tanvir Was Young And Inexperienced When He Played IPL In Its Inaugural Edition In 2008

The veteran opened up on his stint in the Indian Premier League saying that it was an enriching experience and gave him a platform to play against some of the best players. Sohail Tanvir admitted that initially, he had no idea regarding what the IPL was.

In an interaction on the YouTube channel My Master Cricket Coach, the 36-year-old said, “When I played IPL back in the first edition in 2008, I was young and inexperienced as I had not played too many international games.”

“That time, I think we were playing a series against South Africa and league cricket hardly used to be played, so I had no idea what the IPL was. The cricket board told me that we have got you a contract and you have to go to play IPL in March-April,” he said

“And, when I went to play in the IPL, there were so many big stars. I had never thought about something like that. The best bowlers from all over the world were there. So, to go there and perform so well…” Tanvir added.

The Rajasthan Royals (RR) is a franchise cricket team based in Jaipur, India, which plays in the Indian Premier League (IPL). They were one of the eight teams that competed in the 2008 Indian Premier League. They were captained by Shane Warne. The all-rounder Shane Watson won the man of the tournament award for scoring as many as 472 runs and picking 17 wickets.

Shane Watson With Rahul Dravid (PTI)
Shane Watson With Rahul Dravid (PTI)

Rajasthan Royals finished winners in the IPL and qualified for the champions league T20. The team won the inaugural edition of the IPL under the captaincy of Shane Warne, despite being written off as a title contender by the media and fans. The Royals were also the runners-up of the 2013 Champions League Twenty20 under Rahul Dravid’s captaincy.

On 14 July 2015, Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings were suspended for two years over a 2013 betting scandal, meaning they could not participate in both the 2016 and 2017 IPL tournaments. They returned to the competition for the 2018 season.

Sohail Tanvir: Everyone Knows About The Fan Following Of Pakistan Players In India And If Pakistan Players Are Allowed To Play In IPL, It Will Be Beneficial For Both Players And League

2008 was the last season when the Pakistan players played in the Indian Premier League. Due to the political tension between the two neighbouring nations, India and Pakistan face each other on the cricket field only during the ICC events. However, the veteran seamer is hopeful that relations between India and Pakistan will improve soon and the Pakistani players will be allowed to feature in the tournament as it will benefit both the players and the league.

“If Pakistani players are allowed to play in the IPL, it will be beneficial for both the players and the league. Players from all over the world except Pakistan play in the IPL. Everybody knows about the fan-following of Pakistan players in India. I have witnessed that while playing for Pakistan and also in the IPL.”

Shoaib Akhtar, Shah Rukh Khan Photo Credit: PTI
Shoaib Akhtar, Shah Rukh Khan Photo Credit: PTI

“When I played IPL, I learned a lot. Since I did well, it played a major role in me gaining confidence going ahead. So it would be great if our players get to play in the league. But, these things are not in our control. There are many other factors at work. Hope it happens sooner or later,” Sohail Tanvir signed off.

Apart from Pakistan’s Sohail Tanvir, other Pakistan cricketers like Shahid Afridi (Deccan Chargers), Shoaib Malik (Delhi Daredevils), Shoaib Akhtar (Kolkata Knight Riders), Misbah-ul-Haq (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Mohammad Asif (Delhi Daredevils), Kamran Akmal (Rajasthan Royals), Salman Butt (Kolkata Knight Riders), Umar Gul (Kolkata Knight Riders), Younis Khan (Rajasthan Royals), Mohammad Hafeez (Kolkata Knight Riders) participated in IPL 2008.

Mohammad Hafeez Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Mohammad Hafeez Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Mohammad Hafeez Opens Up On Pressure Of Playing T20 World Cup In India

Mohammad Hafeez, Pakistan’s veteran all-rounder has opened up on the pressure of playing in India by claiming that winning the bilateral series before the T20 World Cup would teach players to perform in those conditions.

The 40-year-old also stated that a sound process would always lead to good results.

Mohammad Hafeez
Pakistani batsman Mohammad Hafeez (Credits: Getty)

Mohammad Hafeez Is A Big Believer Of The Process

Pakistan veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez would be participating in his sixth T20 World Cup when the event occurs in India later this year. Like all teams, the 2009 champion has been finetuning their World Cup plans ahead of the tournament, while the PCB is working through the procedures of getting visas.

Pakistan batsman Mohammad Hafeez
Pakistan batsman Mohammad Hafeez (Credits: Getty)

“I am a big believer of the process. When you have a sound process then your end result or product is always going to be good. Wherever the event may be in India or anywhere, would be a big stage. You have to go through these smaller stages of bilateral series first and by winning them you can match up with any side in the final stage that is the mega event itself,” Mohammad Hafeez said while speaking on Cricket Bazz YouTube channel.

Mohammad Hafeez has been in tremendous form in the last few months in the shortest format, performing incredibly well in the T20 series in England and New Zealand. He averaged a daunting 155 and 70 in those, respectively. The 40-year old had also performed well in PSL 2020, smashing 312 runs in 13 matches at 39 with a decent strike rate of 125.30. Mohammad Hafeez, who has played 99 T20Is, could be a real asset in the middle-order.

Mohammad Hafeez Felt Execution Of Skills Under Pressure Is Of Utmost Importance

The all-rounder claimed that the execution of an individual’s skills under pressure was the most important factor in high-voltage and high-intensity encounters on the international stage.

“What I have experienced is that in all the high-voltage and high-intensity games, the most important thing is the execution of skills under pressure. When you are under immense pressure that is where it is important to execute all the skills that you have or have learned. When you perform well in those cases you have the ability to absorb more pressure. This drives you to better performances,” he said.

Pakistan National Cricket Team
Pakistan National Cricket Team (Image Credits: Twitter)

Mohammad Hafeez believed Pakistan had a great opportunity to prepare for the mega event because all of their future fixtures before the T20 World Cup would be on away tours.

“Pakistan cricket has a great opportunity because they will be featuring in away series like South Africa in their home turf, England in England, and West Indies in West Indies. This will determine where we stand as a team.

“If we can do well in these series and create a winning momentum then it will show that everyone is ready. This will show that everyone is ready to perform under pressure. The winning away series is a big morale booster. This gives you confidence for any big event,” Mohammad Hafez concluded.

Mohammad Hafeez and Sharjeel Khan on Friday returned to the T20 teams for the South Africa and Zimbabwe series scheduled to take place next month. The return of the two players was announced by Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) Chief Selector Mohammad Wasim on Friday in a press conference at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

Pakistan is scheduled to play three one-day internationals and four Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) against South Africa from April 2 till April 16. After it’s conclusion the team will depart to Zimbabwe, where they will play two Tests and three T20Is.

Mohammad Hafeez, the second-longest serving Pakistan cricketer in the current setup, could yet extend his 17-year career. His original plan was to retire in November 2020 after the T20I World Cup in Australia but he said that he would continue to make himself available as the tournament was delayed due to Covid-19. Mohammad Hafeez said he wanted to go out on a winning note.

40-year-old Mohammad Hafeez has played all but one World T20 – the one Pakistan won in 2009. He played for Pakistan in 2007, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016 T20I World Cups managing 426 runs and picking 13 scalps.

Mohammad Hafeez
Mohammad Hafeez. Credits: Getty Images

Pakistan Need System To Groom Cricketers Properly: Mohammad Hafeez

Mohammad Hafeez, Pakistan all-rounder has lauded India’s domestic cricket system, saying all players are groomed properly before receiving call-ups to the national team. He further added that his own nation needs a similar system to thrive on the international stage.

Speaking at a media interaction on Wednesday, Mohammad Hafeez attributed India’s series triumph in Australia to their “finished products.”

Mohammad Hafeez,
Mohammad Hafeez. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Mohammad Hafeez: India’s Finished Products Play International Cricket But In Pakistan’s Case Only Talent Plays

India won the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-1 despite losing several key players over the course of the series and facing a humiliating defeat in the first Test.

“The reason why India came back from being bowled out for 36 and went on to win the series despite their captain not being available or so many players injured is because their new and young players are groomed properly into finished products. India’s products play international cricket and in Pakistan’s case only the talent does,” Mohammad Hafeez explained.

Ajinkya Rahane.
Ajinkya Rahane. (Image Credit: Getty Images).

The 40-year-old’s comments came in the wake of India securing a historic three-wicket victory at the Gabba. As a result, they became the first visiting team to beat Australia at the venue since 1988. Terming Team India’s triumph “great”, Mohammad Hafeez admitted that he enjoyed the Ajinkya Rahane-led side’s fightback throughout the series.

“I enjoyed it that the team was down in morale but the way they came back and won the series after an amazing recovery is great. As a fan of cricket, we really enjoyed that,” Mohammad Hafeez, who has scored 12,589 runs and taken 246 wickets across 55 Tests, 218 ODIs and 99 T20Is, said.

Under Ajinkya Rahane who stood as captain after Virat Kohli headed home on paternity leave, India won the Test series as a bunch of newcomers who were handed debuts in absence of injury-hit players performed excellently. Mohammed Siraj, Shubman Gill, T Natarajan, Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar were finds of the tour.

India won at Brisbane and Melbourne after losing 1st Test in Adelaide suffering a horrifical batting collapse in 2nd innings. The win at Brisbane is more creditable as India did not have services of Virat Kohli (homebound), injury-hit Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav, Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah.

Mohammad Hafeez: Pakistan Don’t Have System Which Can Make Finished Products

Mohammad Hafeez acknowledged that there is no dearth of talent in Pakistan. However, he was quick to add that a grooming system is required to help the prodigies succeed at the highest level. He was probably alluding to the likes of Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Imam-ul-Haq, who all have now slightly faded away after initially bursting onto the international scene.

Naseem Shah
Naseem Shah (Image Credit: Google)

“Unfortunately we don’t have a system which can make finished products which are now essential in modern-day cricket. That is why so many of our young players fail to succeed at the international level. We have to polish the talented youngsters and make them world-class players. In India, their domestic system ensures the talented players are groomed properly. But in Pakistan we don’t go through that process,” the former captain concluded.

Pakistan have struggled for consistency over the last 16 months, winning just two of their last 10 Tests. They lost 5 and 3 were drawn as the team are languishing at 6th place with 166 points in table of World Test Championship. They will next face South Africa in a two-match Test series on home soil. Pakistan could not win against England and New Zealand in Tests and their last win came against minnows Bangladesh which they won by 1 innings and 44 runs.

Mohammad Amir, ICC World Cup 2019, Best Playing XI,
Mohammad Amir. Getty

Mohammad Amir Vowed To Bounce Back After Being Ignored For New Zealand Tour

Mohammad Amir, senior Pakistan pacer has vowed to bounce back from the disappointment of being overlooked for the upcoming tour of New Zealand. Pakistan will play three T20Is and two Tests in New Zealand starting December 18. Players like Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Amir and Shoaib Malik were left out from the squad.

Mohammad Amir who made his debut at 17 years age in 2009 is a left-arm pacer. His last test came in January 2019 after which he announced retirement from tests. He played 36 tests and picked 119 wickets averaging 30.47.

Mohammad Amir
Mohammad Amir-Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Mohammad Amir Expresses Disappointment At Being Left Out Of New Zealand Tour

Babar Azam and Pakistan team management will lead Pakistan squad for New Zealand tour kept faith in Mohammad Hafeez and Wahab Riaz. At the same time, there are uncapped players too like Amad Butt, Danish Aziz, Imran Butt and Rohail Nazir.

“It was disappointing as I was expecting to be part of the squad (for New Zealand tour). It was the selector’s decision but this motivates me to perform in a better manner, improve my fitness and regain my place in the side,” Amir told Cricket Pakistan.

Babar Azam
Babar Azam. Image Credit: Getty Images.

“The New Zealand tour could be make or break for many cricketers, which has also been the case in the past as well. The conditions are difficult for batting while the bowlers also have small margin of error due to small boundaries. So the players, especially the youngsters, who perform well can improve their career trajectory,” he added.

In August 2010, the English newspaper News of the World published allegations that Mohammad Amir and fellow bowler Mohammad Asif deliberately bowled no-balls during Pakistan’s 2010 tour of England in return for payment from a betting syndicate. On 2 September 2010, the International Cricket Council announced that they had suspended Mohammad Amir under the provisions of the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Code. Mohammad Amir returned in 2015 after a 5-year long ban.

Mohammad Amir: People Don’t Realize I Didn’t Play Cricket For 5 Years

Mohammad Amir also opened up about his retirement from Test cricket and the criticism that followed his decision.

“People talk about my age and retirement but they don’t realise that I did not play cricket for five years. Even if you don’t start your car for a week, even that needs oil change to get it running properly once again,” said the 28-year-old who quit Tests last year.

“My workload management was becoming a major issue which forced me to take that decision. I was continuously facing fitness issues and our physiotherapist Cliffe Deacon can confirm that I was number one in the treatment list, during the England tour in 2018.”

Mohammad Amir
Mohammad Amir- Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“If I had played all formats, I would have retired from international cricket by now.” Amir, who has represented Pakistan in 36 Tests, 61 ODIs and 50 T20 internationals is presently in Sri Lanka for the Lanka Premier League.

Mohammad Amir represented Pakistan in 61 ODIs and 49 T20Is too where he averages less than 30 with the ball.

Babar Azam
Babar Azam Image Credits: Twitter

No Disharmony Or Groupings In Pakistan Team, Says Babar Azam

The newly-appointed skipper, Babar Azam of Pakistan in both limited-overs and Test cricket, said that if New Zealand had developed into a strong team and had some good individual players, the same was true about Pakistan.

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, who has been handed reins of the side in all formats, on Friday insisted that his team does not have any factions and he would like to emerge as an independent leader with the support of senior players.

Babar Azam.
Babar Azam. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Babar Azam Insists He Played With Pressure And Learnt From Seniors Like Azhar Ali

The Pakistan squad, including 35 players and 15 officials, will leave for New Zealand on November 23. The senior team will play three T20 Internationals and two Tests while the Pakistan A side will be playing two four-day games and a few T20 matches in New Zealand.

Talking to media persons in Lahore, Babar Azam dismissed a query whether there was uneasiness among players over his captaincy credentials.

“This is a young team and there is no disharmony or groupings in our dressing room. The team is one. Every player respects and backs the other player and takes pride in their performances. No leg pulling in our team,” Babar Azam said.

Babar Azam also insisted that he didn’t felt under pressure to ensure dual responsibility of being captain in all three formats besides being the top batsman in the side.

“I have always played with pressure. When I came into Pakistan team early on there was pressure on me to perform. We have to face challenges every day. Now there is a new challenge and responsibility and I will try to use my experience from white ball cricket.

“I take advice from seniors and have learnt a lot from Saifi (Sarfaraz) and even Azhar (Ali). Whatever I have learnt and what they taught me, I am trying to apply those things and if need arises I will talk to them but in the end I will take independent decisions according to my mind-set,” he asserted.

Shoaib Malik
Shoaib Malik Was Ignored. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Babar Azam said that his batting would not be affected by added responsibility of captaincy in all three formats.

“I try to enjoy myself as a batsman and I enjoy challenging situations. I know the team relies on me and I enjoy playing under pressure, especially abroad. We are going to New Zealand after having played a lot of cricket and we are excited as a team because we know our worth. We know that we have always performed well against New Zealand be it in New Zealand or anywhere else,” the skipper added.

Pakistan have left out Shoaib Malik, Asad Shafiq and Mohammad Amir but included Sarfaraz Ahmed, Azhar Ali and Mohammad Hafeez. The five uncapped players in Pakistan’s squad are Zeeshan Malik, Danish Aziz, Imran Butt, Rohail Nazir and Amad Butt.

The teams will play three T20Is between 18-22 December, while the two ICC World Test Championship matches will get underway with the Boxing Day contest followed by the final game of the tour starting on 3rd January. New Zealand are hosting West Indies in the meantime from 27 November to 15 December 2020.

Babar Azam: Main Aim Is To Back And Support Pakistan Teammates

He also said that if New Zealand had developed into a strong team and had some good individual players in their ranks, the same was true about Pakistan who selected a strong contingent to play against the formidable Kiwis.

“My main aim is to back and support my players. Especially those who are not performing well because they need the backing most. As a captain you have to show confidence in your players and back them only then they develop the confidence to do well. I struggled early when I came into Test cricket but only started performing because of the confidence and backing I got from Mickey Arthur and Safi,” said the Pakistan captain.

Pakistan vs New Zealand
Pakistan vs New Zealand-Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Babar Azam responded to a question, where he admitted that the New Zealand tour would be a litmus test for him both as batsman and captain.

“What we are aiming to do is create a good combination of young and senior players and try to be more consistent. As a team we just have to give it our best shot. The results will not always be in your favour and not all the players can perform all the time,” Babar Azam said.

He also said that no team could be taken lightly as every team has veteran and exciting, talented players, and every series is a challenge for both captains.

Mohammad Hafeez,
Mohammad Hafeez. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Mohammad Hafeez Ready To Rest To Give Opportunities To Youngsters For Zimbabwe Series

Pakistan’s veteran cricketer Mohammad Hafeez is ready to rest in the upcoming bilateral series against Zimbabwe at home — to give chances to youngsters. He last played for the Green Army in the T20I series against England last month where the all-rounder played extraordinary knock to lead them to victory. 

Pakistan will host Zimbabwe in October. The two teams will play three ODIs and as many T20 Internationals. 

Mohammad Hafeez, Pakistan
Photo Credit: Getty Images.

In the recent interaction, Mohammad Hafeez expressed that he would make himself unavailable to give opportunities to youngsters. He believes that the upcoming series will give exposure to the rising cricketers.

“I am ready to take a rest from the series. I think it is the best opportunity to give more exposure to the younger players,” Mohammad Hafeez told a Pakistan TV channel.

Haider Ali needs to improve his skills: Mohammad Hafeez

Haider Ali
Haider Ali. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Talking about Haider Ali, who scored a gritty half-century in his debut T20I match against England, Hafeez heaped praise of him. He said that Haider had great talent which will help to raise through the ranks. But the experienced player advised Haider to work more on his technical skills to survive for a longer period in international cricket. 

“Haider is a great talent and plays with tremendous confidence which is required at the top level. However, he still needs to work a lot on his technique. If your technique is solid, then you can survive for long in international cricket,” Hafeez said.

“I hope he is working on it because if he improves his technique, his shot range will become ever better. I am praying for his success.

Mohammad Hafeez wants more youngsters like Haider Ali to come forward and lead Pakistan cricket from the front. He said that he feels proud when the young guns showcase their talent to the world. 

“I always like it when our youngsters showcase their talent in front of the world. This is how Pakistan cricket will move forward. I want more youngsters to come but after they are fully prepared and ready for international cricket.”

Mohammed Hafeez was surrounded by several controversies during the England tour as he violated the bio-secure bubble. 

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