Hafeez apologises for Pakistan performance
Mohammad Hafeez was asked pretty direct questions after Pakistan failed to make the World T20 semi-finals with a heavy defeat to West Indies.
He was asked if he was considering resigning as T20 captain and if he was the No. 3 batsman the side needed. He was asked why Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Malik were persevered with. He was asked if the Pakistan team management was good enough. In reply, Hafeez apologized to the people of Pakistan for his team's unsuccessful campaign and said that the entire team was collectively responsible.
"After a loss, such things come up," Hafeez said. "But you have to keep in mind that no team wins because of any one individual or loses because of any one individual. It was a good display overall, but in this match, we didn't play well. We take collective responsibility. It's not one person's responsibility. The entire management, all the players, are equally responsible.
"The management has worked hard with the players. All the plans, they were able to reach the players, gave us all the practice. At the end of the day, the players have to deliver, they have to execute the plans. In this tournament, especially in this match, if the execution wasn't good, then the responsibility lies with the players, not the management. But as a team, we didn't do well. All of us have to accept it.
"I apologise to the people of Pakistan as captain and on behalf of the team that we couldn't live up to their expectations. But these things happen in cricket. You are the same person who plays good and bad cricket. But it is important that you take the good things going forward and maintain that."
There were few good things for Pakistan against West Indies. They gave away too many runs at the death, lost too many early wickets, and could not get going in the chase at all. Hafeez said his batsmen's shot selection had been wrong. "The plans were in place but once the pressure got on to them, our best bowlers Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul didn't do the basics right. They leaked too many runs towards the end. We didn't get the momentum in our favour.
"We played some of the shots which were not there and losing too many wickets in the first six overs really cost the game. The batsmen have to take the responsibility. There was never any one innings that came forward. When the momentum is not with you, you get to see this kind of cricket where even good teams can collapse."
Hafeez had a disappointing World T20 personally as well, making 55 runs from four innings at a strike-rate of 72.36. While admitting that he could not perform in this tournament, Hafeez felt that overall, he had done alright in the position. "From the last one and a half years, I have been doing this for the team, playing at No. 3 because the management want me to do this and I have been doing very well at this. Unfortunately, in this tournament, I couldn't get the runs I wanted to. It happens sometimes in cricket - you try your level best but things don't work for you. This is one such tournament. I am disappointed with my own form, I couldn't score runs for the team. You have to accept it, you have to move forward from here."
When asked if moving forward meant dropping those who had not performed, Hafeez said that was the domain of the selectors. "Good and bad, you must take them together and look to the future. The selectors will look at it, they will see who are the players that need to be replaced. That is their job. The team is selected by the selection committee, but the responsibility is not any one individual's. If the players haven't played well, then they must take the responsibility."
Malik and Akmal had a poor World T20 as well, making 52 and 48 runs respectively in four innings each. Hafeez acknowledged that they had fallen short of expectations. "They will also be sad. The selectors have trusted and picked them for a big tournament like this. But they didn't live up to those expectations. They are good players, they have played well for Pakistan but you are right, in this tournament there were not good performances from them. But Kamran's keeping is a positive. He has kept well, there have always been question marks over his keeping. Unfortunately, as an opener, he didn't bat as well. As for Shoaib Malik, he is a senior player, both haven't done very well."
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo