An Interview with Pakistan A captain Mohammad Hafeez

Discussion in 'Cricket Talk' started by Mercenary, Feb 16, 2010.

  1. Offline

    Mercenary

    Joined: Dec 17, 2009
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    Mohammad Hafeez Interview: I can bring balance to the ODI team

    by Abdul Habib
    16th February 2010


    This interview was conducted before Hafeez left for the UAE to captain Pakistan A, I'd like to thank Hafeez for his time and for his frank answers!


    [IMG]


    Cricistan.Com: Congratulations on being picked as the Pakistan A captain again.

    Mohammad Hafeez:
    Thank you, it's always an honour to represent my country.


    Cricistan.Com: Your last stint as captain of Pakistan A was during a tour of Australia and your team put up a much better fight than the senior side. What do you remember about that series?

    Mohammad Hafeez:
    Touring Australia is always exciting because the Aussies never back down and you have to fight for every inch of ground that you gain, the pitches aren't easy to bat on and the conditions are totally alien to Pakistani cricketers. I loved the challenge especially since we had a very young and inexperienced team and Australia put out a really strong A side with international players like Tait, White, Krejza, Bollinger, etc. But we still competed really well and fought hard in all our games.


    Cricistan.Com: Your two stand out batsmen on that tour were Umar Akmal and Shehryar Ghani. That tour of Australia A was the one that propelled Umar Akmal to where he is today, tell us more about captaining him.

    Mohammad Hafeez:
    Actually when Umar Akmal was selected for the tour of Australia there were a few raised eyebrows because he wasn't rated that highly by anyone, the feeling was that he was a bit of a hit and miss batsman. I was one of his few supporters because I've played cricket with Umar Akmal for a long time now, from the club level upwards we've played a lot of cricket together so I knew what he was good at and how best to utilise his skills. Umar doesn't have a perfect technique but his strength lies in the fact that he's a gutsy batsman with a fighting spirit. As his captain I gave him free reign to play his natural game and assured him that no matter what happened he had my full support, he repaid my faith handsomely and pulled the team out of several difficult positions. Following that tour God has made everything easy for him and he hasn't looked back since then.


    Cricistan.Com: Ghani isn't in the current A squad, what happened to him?

    Mohammad Hafeez:
    Ghani is a good player too but his fate depends on those who have the power in Pakistani cricket. You have to ask them why they selected Ghani, what was the plan behind it? Why give someone a chance if you're not going to persist with them even if they show the ability needed to score against an international class bowling attack? Ghani is a good player, he needs to keep performing and hopefully he'll get another chance.


    Cricistan.Com: You're right about the inconsistency in selection, there seems to be no method to the madness.

    Mohammad Hafeez:
    Well take my example. On that tour of Australia I was the Pakistan A captain but on the tour to Sri Lanka straight after, not only did I lose the captaincy (despite a strong performance from my team) but I was also dropped as a player. What's the plan here?


    Cricistan.Com: While it's true that under your captaincy the team fought really hard in Australia, perhaps it was your own performance as a player that got you dropped? You should get all the credit as the captain of that team but then shouldn't you also accept the fallout from struggling as a batsman?

    Mohammad Hafeez:
    I understand what you're saying and yes I did struggle during the 4 day games but do you know the reason why I struggled? Before the 4 days games I fractured my thumb, I couldn't even grip a ball or a bat. If I was still in Pakistan then I wouldn't have played but on a tour the rules are somewhat different. That Pakistan A team was very inexperienced and I was the only player with regular international experience in the squad. We were up against a very experienced Australian team with several international players so I took the decision that no matter what happened I had to play. Yes, I did struggle in the 4 day games because I was unable to properly grip a bat or a ball but I was recovered by the one day series. During the limited overs games I bowled and fielded well as well as scoring 75 in one of the three games we played. Shouldn't they have looked at the reason behind my performance in the 4 days games and weighed it up against the effect of my captaincy before taking the decision to drop me from the Sri Lanka tour?


    Cricistan.Com: Well you're not only back playing for Pakistan A but you're also back as the Pakistan A captain. Tell us about the season that led to you winning back your spot.

    Mohammad Hafeez:
    During this last season I've scored 1043 runs at an average of 39 and taken 26 wickets at an average of 26, plus I was one of the best fielders too. I strongly believe that if you give the right players a full opportunity to settle into the side then they will come good.


    Cricistan.Com: I'm actually a fan of yours in the sense that I think with a bit of tweaking you could play a useful role in the team but so far your international performances haven't lived up to the expectations generated by your domestic heroics. Your thoughts?

    Mohammad Hafeez:
    If we're talking Test cricket then I'd point to the fact that I've only played 11 Tests so far and I've scored 2 centuries and 3 fifties. My batting average at Test level is as good as the other Pakistani openers who are playing now, the only difference is that they've played around 3 times as many Test matches as me. If I'd had that many opportunities then I'm confident that I would have established myself as one half of the solution to our opening problems. When it comes to Test cricket how can anyone write me off after just 11 tests especially when almost half of those Tests were played against a strong South African team and almost all of those tests took place in South Africa. When assessing someone's performance you have to look at all the variables.


    Cricistan.Com: That's a fair point about Test cricket, unlike some of our other openers you haven't had the chance to make runs against the weaker international bowling sides like India, Sri Lanka, NZ and England. You've also opened the batting against a strong South African pace attack in their backyard so I guess that does slant your Test figures. But what about your ODI record?

    Mohammad Hafeez:
    I admit that I've badly underperformed as a batsman in ODI cricket, I can make no excuses for that. But for the last 2 years Pakistan has been going into limited overs games with only 5 batsmen so that they can play an extra spinner. How many ODI games have we been winning in the last few years? As soon as we lose 3 wickets, we're almost into the tail. Is it any wonder that with this team we struggle to even chase totals around 150 to 200 when we could chase 300 with Inzi's team? If you think back to the last time Pakistan were a strong ODI team it was under the captaincy of Inzy bhai. Inzi played myself, Malik and Afridi in the same team which meant that he had his batting and bowling options covered. If you compare my bowling stats with Saeed Ajmal's bowling stats then there is very little that separates us. We have a similar average, similar economy and a similar strike rate. We both give around 40 to 45 runs for every 10 overs that we bowl. So why not play me and then you also get an opening batsman and a specialist fielder too. By playing me as an opener who bowls 10 overs, you can free up another slot in the playing XI for a specialist batsman. It brings a better balance to the playing XI and it was one of the reasons that Inzamam's ODI team was so much more successful than the ODI teams that came after him. In cricket you need to balance the team properly so why not pick a 3 in 1 player like me.


    Cricistan.Com: Well you're certainly an economical bowler and one of the best fielders in Pakistan so just based on those two skills there is a case for including you over a specialist spin bowler. Especially as there's nothing to separate your bowling figures. Ok Hafeez bhai thank you for your time and the best of luck against England A.

    Mohammad Hafeez:
    Thanks for the good wishes.
  2. Offline

    namak

    Joined: Feb 16, 2010
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    So this is interesting. Diplomatic answer as to why Ghani was dropped. In fact, if you look at the two A squads, there are only 3 players that are the same in both squads. It really doesnt bode well for the confidence of the A players in the Australian tour that did reasonably well.

    Pak A squad in Aus: http://www.cricinfo.com/australia/content/current/squad/407727.html

    Pak A squad in UAE: http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/content/squad/445327.html

    Another interesting point is the statement 'Umar Akmal wasnt highly rated'. Then which batsman was highly rated? Based on the squads above, Hafeez, Wahab Riaz, and Muhammad Talha were the only 3 members retained in the two squads. Either the highest rated batsman was not picked for the second A tour, or the highest rated batsman is among the trio of Hafeez, Wahab, and Talha :)

    PCB is a sorry mess of an organization :(

    Good interview, btw.
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    Mercenary

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    What he meant by Umar Akmal not being highly rated is that (at that time) the trio of Ahmed Shahzad, Umar Amin and Khurram Manzoor were expected to play for Pakistan before Umar got a chance. But Umar's performance in Australia blew everyone away and he was fast tracked ahead of the other 3.
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    namak

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    Ah. That clarifies that bit. Still, the fact that they arent a part of the current A team doesnt help the confidence of Umar Amin or Ahmed Shehzad at all. Not a good way to groom players for the national squad :(
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    Mercenary

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    I believe Umar Amin is captaining the Pakistan u21 team and Ahmed Shahzad just played the u19 world cup and wasnt in great form.

    But you're right about the lack of a consistent second XI being groomed via the A team.
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    namak

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    iDone

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    He is always one of my favorite players. I really wish him best of luck for his selection with national team. We haven't had a opening batsman+handy bowler like him for a long time. I completely agree with his thoughts on selection and can only pray for the deserving people to get chance.

    btw great interview Merc.
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    Big Daddy

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    Failed again today, on the power of hindsight, it is not ajmal that hafeez should be gunning it but really it should be salman butt. Both are abominations, both cant bat for their life. being a glorified tailender doesnt warrant an opening slot, the sooner the realization is dawned, the sooner the diagnosis can take shape.
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    Feather

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    Nice to see you back in action Merc! I enjoyed that.

    He is right about one thing that we do need guys who can do 3 in 1 type of roles as some did under Inzi however hafeez is two in 1. He can field well and bowl well at times. He has been a complete batting failure when ever I have seen him.

    Then again....I can't believe Butt is still within the team...he is such miserable player that even when he scores...its down right ugly and not helpful.
  10. Offline

    Mercenary

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    I was tempted to say don't you mean 2 in 1 but by that point he had to go read namaz and the interview was over so I let him off with that one!
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    Feather

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    All this 3 in 1 reminds me of Bob Woolmer. I so wish he was still with us today!!
  12. Offline

    Mercenary

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    Well he was very 4 in 1 today. 2 wickets and 40 runs plus captaining his team of unfancied reserves to a 7 wicket victory over the first team!
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    Princ3_CharmiN

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    I don't think Hafeez can solve anything. He has been given lot of chances and has failed to make an impression. He just is a good fielder, his batting and bowling is blew per average.

    Umer Akmal was nothing back in those days, it was all about Ahmed Shezad and Umer Amin. Umer announced himself against OZ when he toured with A team and from then on he never looked back.

    I am huge fan of Ahmed Shezad, I hope he gets another chance because he seems to be looking better then other openers. He was the top performer against OZ in uae and then got dropped because he didn't do good in 2020.
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    sohaib-789

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    he can replace Malik for a year
  15. Offline

    Mercenary

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    Personally I've always been a big fan of Hafeez, he's a limited cricketer but he's one of those types who would be really useful if he could manage to step his game up to the international level.
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    LBW

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    no chance for ODI. Not material enough
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    BALOCH_786

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    Hafeez is doing better than i expected, given his batting average. I hope he can stay consistant like this throughout the worldcup. With time his confidence will increase
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    Passionate Pakistani

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    Lol Hafeez complaining about selection :p

    And his test record is as good as any other opener :p

    Never knew @Mercenary is also a fan of bits and pieces players :shh
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    1137moiz

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    Pretty defensive mindset this. Having said that "bits and pieces" allroundrs did work for Inzamam so I agree on that point with Mohammad Hafeez, but Ajmal's stats are far superior to Hafeez's save economy, and even there Ajmal gives what, 4 or so per over.
  20. Offline

    Passionate Pakistani

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    So he wanted to play ahead of ajmal.

    What a man. What confidence :p
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    Energy

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    The title of the interview is very much spot on!
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    Wistful Reminisces

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    Blessed in all facets
    [IMG]
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    ComradeVenom

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    You asked some really tough questions, very different from the usual interviews of cricketers we read. Good job!





    Fantastic!
  24. Offline

    1137moiz

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    @Mercenary 's interviews are always fun to read. I remember before I knew about Cricistan I sometimes stumbled across an interview he did on PP and you could always tell by the quality of the questions and the personal analysis that sometimes went in
  25. Offline

    ALbIe

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    Look at the jealousy between him and Ajmal.No wonder Pakistanis are not a successful bunch! Never knew Misbah debuted at 26- really shocked me. The last proper A tour was in 2009 and we got Umar Akmal and Riaz from it!
  26. Offline

    Mercenary

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    If you think those were tough you should read the interviews with Razzaq and Bari
  27. Offline

    ALbIe

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    Link?
  28. Offline

    Mercenary

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    WaQaReD! likes this.
  29. Offline

    Big Daddy

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    This is what I wrote in this very post in 2010. "heeray key pechan seraf jauhery hy janta hai"

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