Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI, Dubai November 18, 2011

Hard work pays off for Hafeez


Mohammad Hafeez's Man-of-the-Match winning 83 in the third ODI against Sri Lanka in Dubai has extended his prosperous run as opener, a slot that has been a headache for Pakistan in recent years.

Hafeez made his international debut in 2003 as part of the sweeping changes after the World Cup debacle in South Africa. He flitted in and out of the Pakistan team for seven years, and it was only during the controversial tour of England last year that he cemented a place in all three formats of the game.

Since the comeback in 2010, he's amassed 1350 ODI runs at a solid 39.79 and snapped up six Man-of-the-Match awards, assuring him a permanent slot. He said he had to work hard on his batting technique to succeed but his bowling was a natural ability that required little work.

"I worked very hard on my technique, which has paid off and really given me (a lot of) confidence," Hafeez said at the post-match press conference on Friday. "I am very thankful to the support staff, especially my batting coach - Shahid Aslam - who really worked hard with me to correct things. And I am very happy with the way I am performing for my country."

Besides runs at the top of the order, Hafeez has also chipped in with his tight offspin bowling, a combination which has boosted him to the third spot in the ICC's one-day allrounder rankings. "Bowling is natural for me, I don't really work very hard on it," Hafeez said. "Basically I am a batsman, I can understand the psyche of the batsmen.

"The confidence given by the management is very important, especially by the captain. Previously Shahid [Afridi] was using me very well and now Misbah [ul-Haq] - with whom I had played at the domestic level too. So in any situation, he trusts me and if required asks me to do the job for the team and it has really worked."

Misbah highlighted Hafeez's importance to the team, and praised the allrounder's contributions. "You can say he's one of the best allrounders because of the way he has performed over the last one-and-a-half years," Misbah said. "He's really doing well for Pakistan team in all formats, be it Twenty20s, one-dayers or even Tests. He can bat, bowl well, is good at fielding and is improving day by day. It's really a blessing to have a person like him in the team."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mohammad on November 20, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    Hard work paid off for Hafiz, now Akmal, Asad , and Juanaid must work hard and seal their positions in the test and ODI. If Farhat can also do the same, Pak can have a team which will beat or compete hard with the top 3 teams. They must beat England to go up in the ranking. GUL needs to be more consistent in his top quality bowling, at times he is way off. Pak management must take care to build a good team so that we can enjoy the famous INDIA-PAKISTAN cricket war at Sarjah-Dubai SOON. Wake up Indian management, make the public happy.

  • David on November 20, 2011, 0:38 GMT

    im thinking PK has played pretty dang well last few months... they really have their bowling attack has been jst amazing and NOW their batting is starting to catch up also... we are an awesome team we HAVE a lot of talent we jst don't have the confidence or the discipline to guide ourselves in the right direction... or at least tht was the case with us for a LOOONG LOOONG time ... now it seems to me like we have some basics bullding up in our team ... our bowling has gotten better and more consistent esp with guyz like saeed ajmal and now umar gul AND now our batting is starting to catch up also i mean mohammad hafeez has i thought always been a more or less a good performer and a reliable opener but we need more than one good players in our team as batsman and now batsman like umar akmal and asad shafiq and imrat farhat are chipping in also of which im really proud happy and excited :}

  • faisal on November 19, 2011, 20:05 GMT

    Great job by hafeez ,he improve his game alot ,he is a asset in he opening batting now..,so hope that he continue his from to next matches ..

  • Humayun on November 19, 2011, 17:10 GMT

    I have always had a feeling for Hafeez that he will turn out to be a good player. Although still its bit early to say but he is sure on the right track. I also hope prospects like Fawad Alam, Shahzeb Hassan, Ahmed Shehzad and Asad Shaiq can reach true potential.

  • Jawwad on November 19, 2011, 16:36 GMT

    Mind you Hafeez made his second comeback with an average of less than 14 in ODI's and similar in Test. His average in ODI's has since improved to almost 28 in just over a year. That's a very steady climb. He will soon be among the top ODI openers. When he first came on to the scene, everyone knew he possessed great cricketing acumen but he just could not translate on to the field. He is really the only one I have seen in Pakistan dressing room who went back to drawing board and worked on his mistakes and has come back as a stronger player. What an asset. Professor! Professor!

  • Dummy4 on November 19, 2011, 16:30 GMT


  • Bilal on November 19, 2011, 16:09 GMT

    Hafeez was my favourite player when he was not that good. But now he is playing on his potential. Well done professor.

  • Yousuf on November 19, 2011, 15:05 GMT

    @ prbath...we dont see anything bad with mahelaz stumping, his foot was clearly in air....and dilshan still can never praise better playing nation...dilshan needs courage to admit that winning team was a better one on a given day

  • Cricinfouser on November 19, 2011, 15:00 GMT

    nice person make afridi captin

  • rehan on November 19, 2011, 14:48 GMT

    with superb performance he has deserved more cheer but one thing he should to be kept in mind his current spot is not an ordinary.Nation expects another saeed Anwar.

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