'All bowlers should undergo testing' - Hafeez
Mohammad Hafeez has said there should not be a "pick-and-choose" method to identify bowlers with suspect actions, and that all bowlers should undergo testing. Hafeez, however, was hopeful of a positive resolution to the scrutiny over his bowling action.
"If these rules are necessary for international cricket, they should be applied to all bowlers," Hafeez said. "Those who pass should be allowed to bowl, those who do not, they should work to rectify their mistakes. There shouldn't be any 'pick-and-choose' method.
"I have been bowling for the last 11 years and it's an integral part of my cricket," he said. "I am incomplete if I am not bowling. So I hope I will be able to come out of this and will be able to bring my bowling within the current rules and regulations. There is a protocol and you have to go through it."
Hafeez's bowling action was reported after the first Test against New Zealand and he flew to get his action tested at the ICC accredited facility in Loughborough, England, just before the third Test. He returned in time to join the squad and scored a career-best 197 in the first innings. He also bowled 23 overs and picked up a couple of wickets.
"I hadn't touched the bat for ten days before joining the team here," he said. "But it was a difficult time for me due to the problems with my bowling action and I am hoping I will be able to come out of it. When I went to Loughborough, my concentration was on bowling but the management had told me they were interested in me playing the third Test.
"When I returned, there was a doubt due to a hamstring niggle. But once it was sorted, I said I would be able to play despite the jet lag. I went in with the confidence of scoring runs in the Abu Dhabi Test and the tempo was maintained."
Hafeez started fluently in the second innings as well, clipping a boundary off the very first ball. But he saw three quick wickets fall at the other end to Trent Boult and that was where Pakistan lost the match, according to him. "The way we have been playing, we thought we could save this match," he said. "But the way Boult bowled that first spell, he broke our tempo."
However, Hafeez said it had been a satisfying six weeks of Test cricket for Pakistan. They beat Australia comfortably in the two-Test series and outplayed New Zealand in the first Test. That came after they had been routed in the limited-overs series against Australia that preceded the Tests. A collective will to improve, Hafeez said, had helped the team bounce back so strongly.
"There was a realisation among us that we were not playing good cricket. We accepted our failures and realised we needed to play better," he said. "That willingness to improve really helped when we entered the Test series against Australia. All the team members played to the situation, except today. But we can say that the last six weeks have been very successful. The batsmen scored a lot of runs. What was even better was to see the inexperienced attack take 20 wickets. I think it was very important for the future of Pakistan cricket."