KARACHI: Senior all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez has hit back at his detractors who had questioned the former Pakistan captain’s inclusion in the squad for the August-September tour of England, saying that he’ll retire on his own terms.
Hafeez, who will turn 40 on Oct 17 and has been recalled after missing the limited-over contests against Sri Lanka and Australia, said during the online Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) media conference that as long as he’s fit and in form, he will be available for national duty at the Twenty20 International level.
“This kind of reaction has always been part of my cricketing life from the day I made international debut in 2003. Now 17 years on, nothing has changed probably because I came from a relatively small city like Sargodha,” said Hafeez in an interview with Dawn. “And each time I performed to the best of my abilities to prove the critics wrong. Criticism, whether fair or otherwise, made me doubly determined to perform. If anyone says I shouldn’t be playing [for Pakistan] that is their personal opinion.
“Ramiz Raja [former Pakistan captain turned broadcaster] is a respected figure and I have high regard for him. If he comments that seniors like myself should be making way for youngsters, those are purely his views,” he said.
“My answer is clear-cut. I don’t play or quit at anyone’s wishes or whims. I feel extremely proud in saying that it has been a privilege and an honour to be playing for Pakistan. Generally speaking, I had justified my selection most of the time and Insha’Allah will do so again. At the end of the day, I’ll just say it is my career and my decision to play on or not.”
Hafeez reiterated he wanted to play white-ball cricket post-2019 World Cup because he was fit enough to play at the international level.
“My life has had its share of ups and downs and cricket too has not been an exception, considering its a passion not only for me but for many, many others. Being a resilient person, I never give up, trying as hard as possible to achieve the desired results by giving my best in a dignified manner,” he said. “I’m not one of those people who get disillusioned and start losing enthusiasm. After the 2019 World Cup, I was not picked but deep inside I felt that if I keep on maintaining fitness and form, the opportunities would come my way once again.”
Commenting on the upcoming tour, Hafeez admitted in the prevailing situation with standard operating procedures (SOPs) applying due to the pandemic of novel coronavirus (Covid-19), the journey ahead won’t be easy.
Pakistan will take on England in three Tests and as many T20Is on their upcoming tour of the country.
Pakistan squad for England tour: Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Abid Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmad, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Imran Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari, Wahab Riaz, Imad Wasim, Kashif Bhatti, Shadab Khan, and Yasir Shah.
Hafeez has played 55 Tests, in which he has managed to score 3,652 runs at an average of 37.64. In his Test career, he also scalped 53 wickets.