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
33

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • CricketFever11 on November 1, 2013, 5:56 GMT

    Honesty is not a weakness mate... It is an expensive gift. This is the difference of attitudes between Legends and average players.......

  • voyager on October 31, 2013, 17:57 GMT

    Apart from mocking his 'honesty is weakness' comment. It should be acknowledged that he has contributed decently both with his performances and as a disciplined and a respectable individual, inspite of all the limitations at a very critical time of Pakistan cricket life.

    Performing decently with average talent is also a very important attribute.

  • on October 31, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    @Daniel, no doubt that Misbah is a best Pakistani player currently and takes them out of trouble almost every time he comes to bat. But he alone cant win matches, a young player like Umar Akmal should improve the game and become good finishers...

  • Daniel_Cartwright on October 31, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    @Mohammed Kamaluddin, oh yes, and all it takes to PRODUCE a player is just the production of one right? magically?.. Misbah is the best pakistani captain ever and the best batsman pakisan has produced since Saeed Anwar, Inzi was a match winner in 1992 and thats about it. Your cricket analysis is poor.

  • on October 31, 2013, 7:21 GMT

    I think biggest weakness of Pakistan after Inzamam left is they lack a match winner. Misbah is a good player but not a good finisher or match winner. Pakistan should produce a player like Virat Kohli, who can stay till end and take the side to finishing line.

  • Ray24 on October 31, 2013, 4:03 GMT

    Your biggest weakness is that you over estimate your ability and block the way of more talented cricketers. Be a sport and quit test cricket, when mediocre players play regularly, the standard of the team becomes mediocre. And then mediocrity start competition with mediocrity and calls themselves accomplished when they score once in a blue moon. Pakistan has enough talent, please allow it to appear and flourish.

  • OverDcovers on October 31, 2013, 3:53 GMT

    I am surprised at the caption of this article-Honesty as a weakness????? Just goes to show this "Limited Talented-More Lucky" guy's mindset! He is an average club level cricketer that we get in Pakistan, but purely due to luck he has played so much International cricket mainly due to the fact (again luck factor) that during most of his era Pakistan lacked quality International stuff except Younus Khan. He is actually batsman who is a useful bowler as well and fact of the matter remains that he is a failure with the bat! Evidently scared of Dale Styn and yet insists that he should be in Test team. Infact he is just a T20 Material where there are normally no slip cordon and one can play most ridiculous shots and be popular. Him and Misbah have always prefered 'Obedient, Meak players' with limited talent so they remain grateful to these 2. He alongwith Misbah is equally responsible for the pathetic and quality less state of Pakistani cricket team!

  • Simba007 on October 31, 2013, 1:43 GMT

    Pakistan was unable to produce any proper openers after the combination of Saeed Anwar and Amir Sohail. Hafeez has been a false hope and for some reason Pakistan never got rid of him.I can see he follows the fashion very well but plzz don't ask him how good he plays the swing bowlers. This guy is the biggest flop as far as opening is concerned. He should concentrate on his bowling and fielding and bat at lower middle order. By the Way, after today's performance, PCB should fire all Pakistani players and put their under 25 team against South Africa. They will have more guts to achieve such a modest total. For Pakistani Fans, this is a SAD Day!

  • rocket123 on October 31, 2013, 0:22 GMT

    Please be honest to urself, ur fans and ur country. Do not just say it. What you did today in ODI against SA, is your best and within your talent. You can not do better than this. Please accept in all honesty. Thanks, a common Pakistani.

  • on October 30, 2013, 22:03 GMT

    His biggest weakness is speaking the truth and being honest. I guess he's right. Because if he was being honest here he would say: 1. Facing below avg bowler on a sporting pitch.

    He's a bits and pieces player that has performed in bits and pieces. 20-30 avg when given a long run. Pakistan and Misbah should realize he's not good enough to play at the int'l level. On with the youth.

  • CricketFever11 on November 1, 2013, 5:56 GMT

    Honesty is not a weakness mate... It is an expensive gift. This is the difference of attitudes between Legends and average players.......

  • voyager on October 31, 2013, 17:57 GMT

    Apart from mocking his 'honesty is weakness' comment. It should be acknowledged that he has contributed decently both with his performances and as a disciplined and a respectable individual, inspite of all the limitations at a very critical time of Pakistan cricket life.

    Performing decently with average talent is also a very important attribute.

  • on October 31, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    @Daniel, no doubt that Misbah is a best Pakistani player currently and takes them out of trouble almost every time he comes to bat. But he alone cant win matches, a young player like Umar Akmal should improve the game and become good finishers...

  • Daniel_Cartwright on October 31, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    @Mohammed Kamaluddin, oh yes, and all it takes to PRODUCE a player is just the production of one right? magically?.. Misbah is the best pakistani captain ever and the best batsman pakisan has produced since Saeed Anwar, Inzi was a match winner in 1992 and thats about it. Your cricket analysis is poor.

  • on October 31, 2013, 7:21 GMT

    I think biggest weakness of Pakistan after Inzamam left is they lack a match winner. Misbah is a good player but not a good finisher or match winner. Pakistan should produce a player like Virat Kohli, who can stay till end and take the side to finishing line.

  • Ray24 on October 31, 2013, 4:03 GMT

    Your biggest weakness is that you over estimate your ability and block the way of more talented cricketers. Be a sport and quit test cricket, when mediocre players play regularly, the standard of the team becomes mediocre. And then mediocrity start competition with mediocrity and calls themselves accomplished when they score once in a blue moon. Pakistan has enough talent, please allow it to appear and flourish.

  • OverDcovers on October 31, 2013, 3:53 GMT

    I am surprised at the caption of this article-Honesty as a weakness????? Just goes to show this "Limited Talented-More Lucky" guy's mindset! He is an average club level cricketer that we get in Pakistan, but purely due to luck he has played so much International cricket mainly due to the fact (again luck factor) that during most of his era Pakistan lacked quality International stuff except Younus Khan. He is actually batsman who is a useful bowler as well and fact of the matter remains that he is a failure with the bat! Evidently scared of Dale Styn and yet insists that he should be in Test team. Infact he is just a T20 Material where there are normally no slip cordon and one can play most ridiculous shots and be popular. Him and Misbah have always prefered 'Obedient, Meak players' with limited talent so they remain grateful to these 2. He alongwith Misbah is equally responsible for the pathetic and quality less state of Pakistani cricket team!

  • Simba007 on October 31, 2013, 1:43 GMT

    Pakistan was unable to produce any proper openers after the combination of Saeed Anwar and Amir Sohail. Hafeez has been a false hope and for some reason Pakistan never got rid of him.I can see he follows the fashion very well but plzz don't ask him how good he plays the swing bowlers. This guy is the biggest flop as far as opening is concerned. He should concentrate on his bowling and fielding and bat at lower middle order. By the Way, after today's performance, PCB should fire all Pakistani players and put their under 25 team against South Africa. They will have more guts to achieve such a modest total. For Pakistani Fans, this is a SAD Day!

  • rocket123 on October 31, 2013, 0:22 GMT

    Please be honest to urself, ur fans and ur country. Do not just say it. What you did today in ODI against SA, is your best and within your talent. You can not do better than this. Please accept in all honesty. Thanks, a common Pakistani.

  • on October 30, 2013, 22:03 GMT

    His biggest weakness is speaking the truth and being honest. I guess he's right. Because if he was being honest here he would say: 1. Facing below avg bowler on a sporting pitch.

    He's a bits and pieces player that has performed in bits and pieces. 20-30 avg when given a long run. Pakistan and Misbah should realize he's not good enough to play at the int'l level. On with the youth.

  • on October 30, 2013, 21:25 GMT

    if hafeez thinks he doesn't have problems with swinging ball, he should retire.Life of a pakistani cricketer starts at 18 when he is called a world class, late 20's he starts playing his natural game (like shahid afridi and imran farhat). In early 30's he starts learning and late 30's cant understand why he has been dropped.

  • voyager on October 30, 2013, 20:00 GMT

    Question to Viv Richards; Do you have any regrets? Response: Yes I do, but I am not going to tell you!

    I guess his response to the weakness question would be the same, and going by honesty theme Hafeez's should also be the same. It is his right not to divulge but he can give a more straight forward answer than he does.

  • Saghir_Rizvi on October 30, 2013, 19:46 GMT

    Whatever..!!!, It was Great to watch the this Extremely Tensed match with Friends at Hostel, and guess what..??, its our Databases Exam today... Cheers..!!

  • mewtle on October 30, 2013, 19:31 GMT

    FALSE. Honesty is not your biggest weakness but rather being totally unable to handle the issues within your team arising due to your "honesty" is your biggest weakness. Captaincy is not black and white. Take three weeks off and go have a coffee with Mike Brearley, Steve Waugh, Imran Khan and then decide how to deal with issues ... honestly.

  • on October 30, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    This team can never chase a total of more than 150 in 50overs unless there is a Captain with a mindset like Dhoni,Bailey,ABDe Etc. A captain has to lead by example. Misbah hasn't learned batting to the Full, He is not even quarter of a batsmen when compared with any of the top mentioned players, he can only hit a six to a spinner when its overpitched, He can never drive the ball on top, I mean the list is Big. Hafeez should be used as a spinner and his place should be nothing above No.7. Look at ahmed Shahzad, this guys scores big in t20 and has a SR of more than 100 in any game but under this dull and stupid captaincy he has lost his game and charm. Please Misbah and Hafeez leave the game for heavens sake

  • on October 30, 2013, 18:07 GMT

    This guy averages in the low thirties in Tests and his domestic record isn't eye-catching either. It's not much good avoiding being scared as a batsman if you actually aren't that good at batting.

  • on October 30, 2013, 18:04 GMT

    agree with khurram

  • on October 30, 2013, 16:50 GMT

    Hafeez cannot be accused of modesty . That is clear , isn't it ?

  • on October 30, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    he is best suited for limited overs format. he has a great comeback in 2010 and done well with bat and ball. In tests though , i dont think he deserves a place. even for odis he should bat down the order and that way he will be utilized better.

    His bowling is a major point really. he is been in top 10 for almost 2 years i think and he has changed from a part time bowler to a full time bowling option. in all rounders rankings as well.

    So he is a value player in limited overs. but in tests, you can not be selected just as a bowler because he is not a good test bowler. i think his test career is over now.

  • omerimtiaz on October 30, 2013, 14:01 GMT

    why he never admits that he is not a good player for test actually this is his biggest weakness that he never admits things like that

  • rocket123 on October 30, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    I think my comments were bit harsh on "Professor", but he must realize his limitations and admit to his flaws. There is no point denying the fact what is obvious. Better if he says that he is trying to improve and given a chance he will give his best to justify his selection in Pakistani team. After all, he is no "The Wall" or "The Little Master" that in Professor's case we need to say that form is temporary but class is permanent. Professor first based upon his current stats and performances need to convince audience that he is a class player. Amir Sohail was an avg. player but Saeed Anwar was a class act. At least it would be better if he can work on his limitations and be as good as Amir Sohail.

  • wrenx on October 30, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    Stick to LO internationals, and please bat at 6, not 1. That's a good spot for a bowling all-rounder. We don't need Shoaib Malik or even Afridi in the team with him in that spot, we can pick another proper batsman (if there any to be had)

  • on October 30, 2013, 9:51 GMT

    Hafeez never be a opening batsman. Because his technique is not right as a opening batsman especially in test cricket. I think he can still survive in ODIs and T-20s but not in test matches.

  • on October 30, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    I always felt Haffez is a failure as a bastsman and guss what I was Right...He has played more than 130 odi and even now he doesnt know how to bat ...If he still plays at no 3 then I hav never seen such selfish pkayer than him ..see younsters like Kholi, joe root, dhawan.etc they are new but they play hundred times better than are experienced Haffez..so plz call it a day or else play as a bowler till ur bowling is paying off and plz bat at no 7 u dobt look like a opner or no 3 batsman...but u are more of a bowler..see Abdul Razzak a class hiter and a giod medium pace bowler becoz of Haffez he is not in the team .Haffez u are taking pak cricket down by ur service plz realise and bat down the order .pak still needs Abdul Razzak more than Haffez and Afridi.

  • on October 30, 2013, 8:05 GMT

    What the Pakistani team needs right now is a leader like MS Dhoni, someone who is thick skinned enough not to let criticism come in the way of his vision for the team. Someone who could capture the imagination of the public. Getting someone like Imran is next to impossible- because such cricketers come only once in a century. Hafeez needs to forget about being a leader , at least right now, and focus on his cricket. Let him first cement his place first and then talk about leadership.

  • javed.agrawala on October 30, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    Let the stats speak for themselves. Thats objective and unbiased. An average of 20 outside the subcontinent is not good enough. An average of close to 40 outside of sub is needed backed by well above 55 within to support inclusion. One day and T-20 is different purely because defensive bowling has significant advantages. Hafeez deserves to be part of the team in these two formats currently as he delivers in them! There are other players who could do with the chance given to them. Reverting to Tests, from a subjective standpoint he did look extremely suspect in SA and if you include his failures in Zimbabwe too, then thats 10 innings with not much more than 120 runs in total. No Sir....that is poor.

  • on October 30, 2013, 7:44 GMT

    Asians have always struggled in the West mainly cause of the bouncy pitches. They're great in the subcontinent where batsmen dominate. Look at the stats. If SA can struggle which we saw in the first match it could've happened in the 2nd but as we all know how lazy and over the edge excited pakistanis are.

  • Chaudry_Cricket on October 30, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    @Mahad Qazi ..... In Hafeez's case FORM IS TEMPORARY, CLASSNESSES IS PERMANENT ... Honestly he is one of the worst players to grace Pakistan cricket. Look at your centuries all against Zimbabwe, Ireland, Bangladesh so how can this guy be a top allrounder (just goes to show the quality of cricket when people like him 1 or 2 in the allrounders slot).

  • siddhartha87 on October 30, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    agreed with Qazi.Form is temporary ,class is permanent. That is why Hafeez averages just 20 outside subcontinent.However with terrible form of Azhar Ali i think Hafeez will be back eventually as a no 3 batsman. Also please bring back taufeeq umar. That guy averages 40 + out sub continent.The test XI should be- 1.Umar 2.Manzoor/Azhar Ali 3.Younis Khan 4.Misbah 5. Umar Akmal 6.A.Shafiq 7.A.Akmal 8.Gul 9.Ajmal 10.Junaid 11.Irfan

  • on October 30, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    "Speaking the truth and being honest, I have realised, is one of my key weaknesses. " I always though it was steyn ....

  • on October 30, 2013, 3:52 GMT

    @rocket123 he is a world class player , great all rounder and a match winner . just incase you havent gone through the stats he's No.2 (most runs scored by a player in ODI'S since 2011 ) and an economy rate of 4 (bowling) .If a player like Kallis can fail in UAE then he's just had one bad series in South Africa. "form is temporary , class is permenant ."

  • on October 30, 2013, 3:28 GMT

    he struggles to be honest so you can obviously not believe to many of his answers

  • rocket123 on October 30, 2013, 3:00 GMT

    Really, you think you are a test class. Lets see you have not played a single test in Australia. Second, look at your avg in SA. Just recently, you could not keep track pf your off stump in SA. Watching you in that series was an embarrassment. Not that you are a good player, it appeared that you had no technique at all. Look at the hundreds you have in tests. Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. I do not know recall a single test in 34 matches you have played, where you showed that you have a true character as a test opening batsman or for that matter in any position. Your survival means that Pakistan cricket standard has plummeted way too much in recent times. And your T20 captaincy, a mtch against India was a true reflection of your leadership in past T20 World cup. You are a below avg player in all formats and God forbid if you stay in cricket, then Pakistan is truly relying upon unknown force to survive. Thanks but not thanks for your services to cricket of Pakistan.

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  • rocket123 on October 30, 2013, 3:00 GMT

    Really, you think you are a test class. Lets see you have not played a single test in Australia. Second, look at your avg in SA. Just recently, you could not keep track pf your off stump in SA. Watching you in that series was an embarrassment. Not that you are a good player, it appeared that you had no technique at all. Look at the hundreds you have in tests. Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. I do not know recall a single test in 34 matches you have played, where you showed that you have a true character as a test opening batsman or for that matter in any position. Your survival means that Pakistan cricket standard has plummeted way too much in recent times. And your T20 captaincy, a mtch against India was a true reflection of your leadership in past T20 World cup. You are a below avg player in all formats and God forbid if you stay in cricket, then Pakistan is truly relying upon unknown force to survive. Thanks but not thanks for your services to cricket of Pakistan.

  • on October 30, 2013, 3:28 GMT

    he struggles to be honest so you can obviously not believe to many of his answers

  • on October 30, 2013, 3:52 GMT

    @rocket123 he is a world class player , great all rounder and a match winner . just incase you havent gone through the stats he's No.2 (most runs scored by a player in ODI'S since 2011 ) and an economy rate of 4 (bowling) .If a player like Kallis can fail in UAE then he's just had one bad series in South Africa. "form is temporary , class is permenant ."

  • on October 30, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    "Speaking the truth and being honest, I have realised, is one of my key weaknesses. " I always though it was steyn ....

  • siddhartha87 on October 30, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    agreed with Qazi.Form is temporary ,class is permanent. That is why Hafeez averages just 20 outside subcontinent.However with terrible form of Azhar Ali i think Hafeez will be back eventually as a no 3 batsman. Also please bring back taufeeq umar. That guy averages 40 + out sub continent.The test XI should be- 1.Umar 2.Manzoor/Azhar Ali 3.Younis Khan 4.Misbah 5. Umar Akmal 6.A.Shafiq 7.A.Akmal 8.Gul 9.Ajmal 10.Junaid 11.Irfan

  • Chaudry_Cricket on October 30, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    @Mahad Qazi ..... In Hafeez's case FORM IS TEMPORARY, CLASSNESSES IS PERMANENT ... Honestly he is one of the worst players to grace Pakistan cricket. Look at your centuries all against Zimbabwe, Ireland, Bangladesh so how can this guy be a top allrounder (just goes to show the quality of cricket when people like him 1 or 2 in the allrounders slot).

  • on October 30, 2013, 7:44 GMT

    Asians have always struggled in the West mainly cause of the bouncy pitches. They're great in the subcontinent where batsmen dominate. Look at the stats. If SA can struggle which we saw in the first match it could've happened in the 2nd but as we all know how lazy and over the edge excited pakistanis are.

  • javed.agrawala on October 30, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    Let the stats speak for themselves. Thats objective and unbiased. An average of 20 outside the subcontinent is not good enough. An average of close to 40 outside of sub is needed backed by well above 55 within to support inclusion. One day and T-20 is different purely because defensive bowling has significant advantages. Hafeez deserves to be part of the team in these two formats currently as he delivers in them! There are other players who could do with the chance given to them. Reverting to Tests, from a subjective standpoint he did look extremely suspect in SA and if you include his failures in Zimbabwe too, then thats 10 innings with not much more than 120 runs in total. No Sir....that is poor.

  • on October 30, 2013, 8:05 GMT

    What the Pakistani team needs right now is a leader like MS Dhoni, someone who is thick skinned enough not to let criticism come in the way of his vision for the team. Someone who could capture the imagination of the public. Getting someone like Imran is next to impossible- because such cricketers come only once in a century. Hafeez needs to forget about being a leader , at least right now, and focus on his cricket. Let him first cement his place first and then talk about leadership.

  • on October 30, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    I always felt Haffez is a failure as a bastsman and guss what I was Right...He has played more than 130 odi and even now he doesnt know how to bat ...If he still plays at no 3 then I hav never seen such selfish pkayer than him ..see younsters like Kholi, joe root, dhawan.etc they are new but they play hundred times better than are experienced Haffez..so plz call it a day or else play as a bowler till ur bowling is paying off and plz bat at no 7 u dobt look like a opner or no 3 batsman...but u are more of a bowler..see Abdul Razzak a class hiter and a giod medium pace bowler becoz of Haffez he is not in the team .Haffez u are taking pak cricket down by ur service plz realise and bat down the order .pak still needs Abdul Razzak more than Haffez and Afridi.