August 29, 2012

Pakistan cricket

Hafeez should rejudge his value as a batsman

Abhishek Mukherjee

Analysing Mohammad Hafeez's statistics as a batsman and an off-spinner, Mazher Arshad, writing in Dawn, argues that it was time that Hafeez was moved to the lower-order in the Pakistan ODI line-up. He came to the conclusion that Hafeez, who was a far better bowler than a batsman, shouldn't waste the opener's slot.

Hafeez is the top-ranked bowler in ICC ODI Rankings, and he is no sleeper to this emplacement. He has earned it through his shrewd lines and lengths, variations of pace, and has become a bogeyman to the southpaws. He has the best economy rate (3.57 from 353 overs) since 2011 among bowlers who delivered more than 5o overs. That he is no more a part-time bowler is evident from the fact that only Lasith Malinga, 435, has delivered more overs than his 353 in ODIs since the start of 2011. A hard-nosed critic might have some reservations for ICC’s rankings system, but even he wouldn’t view these stats as those of a mediocre bowler.

The corresponding ranking for his batting is 43, a far cry from his current bowling ranking (1). The highest batting ranking he ever climbed in his nine-year ODI career is 32.

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