October 30, 2013

'Being honest is one of my big weaknesses'

Interview by Umar Farooq
Mohammad Hafeez chats about his leadership style, his batting form, and his love for cars

We heard you started a construction business.
It's my brother who started it. I am just a brand ambassador. But I am a better cricketer than a businessman.

Do you think you have leadership qualities?
I am captaining in the domestic level over the last ten years and leading the Pakistan T20 side for one and a half years. It's a learning process. You learn every day and earn experience.

Were you always able to lead?
Actually right from my childhood I always loved to contribute from the front to make a difference. I don't know if it was a leadership thing in me but I have been this way since my early days in cricket.

What is your weakness?
Speaking the truth and being honest, I have realised, is one of my key weaknesses.

Do you also have a weakness against quality seam bowling?
As an opener you are always out there facing fresh bowlers and fresh pitches. So yes, someone might have felt that I struggle, but I can say this: every day I try to work on my technique. It's good to be analysed, but I don't think it really is one of my weaknesses.

As a batsman, are you afraid of facing any bowler?
No. I never had any fear in my mind. I only have a fear of God in my heart.

Do you have any secrets?
What secrets? I don't have any. I am a simple person. Whatever I am from the inside is a true reflection of what you see outside. So there is no secret to share.

How keenly do you follow your religion?
I try to do my best and follow it. Wherever I can, I push myself into it. And a lot of my success is mainly because of this.

Do you think you are a safe Test prospect?
There is no doubt at all. I believe a team should be made up of the best players. The selectors thought I am not the best so they moved on without me. It's a challenge for me to get back into the side.

Did you know you were going to be dropped when you played your final innings, against Zimbabwe?
I never had such feelings in my life, thinking that something bad is going to happen and starting to rue it. I have always taken every innings as my last so that I can deliver my best.

Who is your best friend in the dressing room?
Misbah. Because we debuted in domestic cricket together and he is the one with whom I have shared the dressing room a lot for regional, departmental, and international teams.

You are a man of taste when it comes to cars.
Well, yes, I love to spend on my family and me. Apart from cars, I also follow fashion.

Name a player who didn't listen to you in dressing room?
I am enjoying high respect as a captain, probably because I respect everyone. But yes, as a captain you have to manage a lot of things, things that sometimes are unmanageable.

Do you cook?
Not really, but I love eating different kinds of food. My wife doesn't allow me into the kitchen. She cooks so well and her cooking always improves my mood.

Do you watch movies?
Yes, mostly Bollywood but randomly and not very keenly because of my busy cricketing routine.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

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