Hafeez bids farewell to international cricket
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Hafeez announces retirement from international cricket
Former captain Mohammad Hafeez has announced his retirement from international cricket 18 years after making his debut in Sharjah against Zimbabwe on 3 April 2003.
However, addressing a press conference, he said he will continue to play league cricket till he remains fit.
Hafeez said he was announcing the end of a beautiful journey of 18 years. Hafeez thanked his parents, fans, Sargodha’s Amjad Sohail and Lahore’s Malik Sarwar for shaping his career.
He also showed his gratitude towards National Cricket Academy and coach Shahid Aslam. He thanked fans for backing him for 18 long years.
Hafeez represented Pakistan in 392 international matches, scoring 12,780 runs and taking 253 wickets, besides also captaining the side in 32 international matches. He was a member of the Pakistan side that won the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 in England and Wales. Overall, Hafeez played in three 50-over World Cups (2007, 2011 and 2019), six 20-over World Cups (2007, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2021) and three ICC Champions Trophy (2006, 2013 and 2017). Hafeez won man of the series awards nine times during his career.
He said he never thought of playing a farewell match. Hafeez said he was happy to be part of the team that defeated India for the first time in the ICC World Cup event in Dubai.
Hafeez said he plays golf as a hobby and would continue to play league cricket until he remains in shape and form.
Hafeez said he will now be able to spend more time with his family and children. He said he was bever at odds with Pakistan Cricket Board.
However, he said he was disappointed by the reply he received from the board regarding the return of the players involved in the match-fixing.
“It would always remain a disappointment for me the answer I got from the then PCB chairman regarding the match-fixers,” he added.
He said it was a very beautiful journey from “Chanda” to professor.
He declared that there was no role of the current PCB set up in announcing his retirement.
It may be mentioned that in the past, Hafeez and current PCB chairman Ramiz Raja remained at odds and passed remarks against each other on media.
Hafeez said he was a principled man he has a clear stance on the matters and it will stay the same in the future as well.
In the ICC Player Rankings, Hafeez achieved the highest Test rankings of 22nd in batting, 29th in bowling and fifth in all-rounders. In the ODI rankings, Hafeez’s highest ranking was 13th in March 2014, while he topped the bowling and all-rounder charts in August 2012 and January 2013, respectively. Hafeez’s rankings in T20I were equally impressive, peaking to ninth in batting in February 2007, third in bowling in August 2013 and number-one in all-rounders in March 2014.
Hafeez said: “Today I say good-bye to international cricket with pride and satisfaction. In fact, I have earned and accomplished more than I had initially envisaged and for that, I am thankful to all my fellow cricketers, captains, support staff and the Pakistan Cricket Board who helped me out during my career. And, of course, my family who made big sacrifices to ensure I achieved my aspirations of representing Pakistan on a global stage.
“I am extremely fortunate, lucky and proud to have been considered worthy of donning the national kit with Pakistan emblem for 18 years. My country and my team have always been at my forefront and therefore, every time I stepped onto the field, I tried to raise their profile and image by playing hard and tough but within the rich traditions of the spirit of cricket. When you have a professional career as long as mine, you’re bound to have your share of highs and lows, and I was no different. Results apart, I can say with conviction that I had more highs as I had the privilege of playing with and against some of the finest exponents of the bat and the ball of my era.
“While cricket has been a great learning school for me, this great sport has provided me opportunities to visit various countries, explore their cultures and make friends. These are lifelong memories, which I will cherish every day. I want to thank my fans and supporters for believing in my abilities and backing me throughout my career.”
PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja added: “Hafeez has been a wholehearted cricketer who worked tirelessly at his game to have a long and fruitful career. His game evolved with time, adjusting to different formats quite intelligently. Later in his career, he became a T20 specialist, where he was never out of touch with the modern demands of this testing format. His batsmanship took a sprightly turn, nailing sixes almost at will. He has worn the green blazer with pride for which we at the PCB are thankful. I wish him the best of luck for his future life and thank him again for his magnificent contribution to Pakistan cricket.”