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

Hard work pays off for Hafeez

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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

  • POSTED BY dmqi 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.

  • POSTED BY crictime11 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 :}

  • POSTED BY BRAVEPAKISTAN 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 ..

  • POSTED BY H-Shakil 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.

  • POSTED BY Desihungama 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!

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 16:30 GMT

    HE IS REALLY A SUPERB MAN SO THATS WHY HE IS CALLED PROFFESSOR A COOL COSTOMER HE IS JUST A PLAYER WHICH PAKISTAN WATED AS THERE OPNER FOR 10 YRS

  • POSTED BY bilalAWAN 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.

  • POSTED BY Y.Raza 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

  • POSTED BY ahilcool on | November 19, 2011, 15:00 GMT

    nice person make afridi captin

  • POSTED BY innocent_gikian 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.

  • POSTED BY dmqi 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.

  • POSTED BY crictime11 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 :}

  • POSTED BY BRAVEPAKISTAN 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 ..

  • POSTED BY H-Shakil 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.

  • POSTED BY Desihungama 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!

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 16:30 GMT

    HE IS REALLY A SUPERB MAN SO THATS WHY HE IS CALLED PROFFESSOR A COOL COSTOMER HE IS JUST A PLAYER WHICH PAKISTAN WATED AS THERE OPNER FOR 10 YRS

  • POSTED BY bilalAWAN 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.

  • POSTED BY Y.Raza 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

  • POSTED BY ahilcool on | November 19, 2011, 15:00 GMT

    nice person make afridi captin

  • POSTED BY innocent_gikian 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.

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 14:47 GMT

    Well done professor. You did a great job. Keep it up.

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 14:28 GMT

    Certainly a vastly improved player , a great asset to the team !

  • POSTED BY Bullet_Drive on | November 19, 2011, 14:25 GMT

    He really has been perfect for the Pakistani XI lately.

    Also some people here are saying captaincy will affect his career, I completely disagree with you. His first ever game as Pakistan captain(tour game) he scored a century.

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 13:38 GMT

    Just one request to Pakistan Selectors !!! Please don't make Hafeez next captain, he is already performing key role in batting and bowling, if we make him captain he might not cope with three responsibilities, and it will not good for Pak cricket

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 13:37 GMT

    as his teammates also refer to him.....The Professor sure studies and analyzes the game better day by day.....all the acumen of a a WORLD CLASS player

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 12:51 GMT

    He is absolute beauty sign of hard work and he has learn the art of converting superb 20's 30's to 50's and 100's.He is clever in bowling and can produce gem delivery especially the straighter one he is a all round cricketer good sign for world cricket

  • POSTED BY Imranghumman on | November 19, 2011, 12:45 GMT

    I really like Hafeez as opener due to his efforts he made to get this position while he was away and was not a part of the team and he came back and he proved that now he deserves this place. I have been seeing him playing in international cricket as a street player, but after coming back when he made 100, I was sure now he is mature and he can get his place. Now at the back of these wins every time Hafeez is there. He is prominent part of these wins and his batting and bowling average since last year proves that. He has a great future and world will know him as legend, because hard work always pays.

  • POSTED BY dmqi on | November 19, 2011, 12:25 GMT

    Hafeez seems to have become the most valuable player in the team for both success and failure. His 3 drop catches in the first test costed them a draw from sure win and here he is genuinly the MO the match. Misbah's captaincy proved to be the best once again. Afridi's value in the team is unquestionable, important breakthrough at the right time and superb fielding. Younu's stay at wicket is very important, no alternative there, his crazy run out of Misbah was poor though. When will the best prospect, Akmal, learn that he needs to settle down first and then accelerate? Pakistan management need to appoint a vice captain, and Hafeez seems to have the right age and experience. England clash will be a true test.One fast bowler change for the next ODI necessary.

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 11:51 GMT

    What was 3rd umpire thinking..first hafeez lbw,THEN Mahelas Stumping.....nowy you could give that out...that cost us the match...

  • POSTED BY likeintcricket on | November 19, 2011, 11:35 GMT

    Some of these batsman are not as naturally gifted as their counterpart were like Saeed Anwar or Inzimam, therefore they have to be proud of their spot in the team and work very hard to maintain it. Take inspiration from Dravid who was not a very gifted player but he worked very hard on some Basics and now he is become a "Rock". Its good to know Hafeez is working hard but he needs to stay on the crease for long time. He has a tendency to get relaxed after making 50 and sometimes he play careless shots earlier in the innings. But If he improves his batting further he will surely be a candidate for a future Captaincy spot.

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 11:31 GMT

    hafiz is improving day by day nd in due course,am sure he will b no 1 allrounder in cricket. just a remote idea------can misbah b a non-playing captain. his game caused many losses nd especially semi final loss in world cup was his special gift.

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 11:25 GMT

    Good win by Pakistan but I think they need to bring back either Cheema or Khan in place of Tanvir to strengthen their pace attack..... spin attack is very good and in fact one of the best spin attack in the world right now..... As for the batting.... they don't need to disturb the batting order by bringing Razzak or Afridi up the order.....

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 11:14 GMT

    What a player he is,since 2010 Enlgand tour this man set the momentum in dept of Spin Bowling and Bating for Pak,his 9 or 10 overs pushing opposition on back foot in every match,more classic is his batting way he cut,pull and drive the ball.He Should steer clear from controversies and then end of his career diffiently he will be Legend. Good Luck Man...

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 11:13 GMT

    Hafeez is easily one of the most important members of the current team. Provides a good start and also provides the crucial breakthroughs! :)

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 11:08 GMT

    its amazing that he can bowl like this at international level without much effort, as he says. that's impressive!

  • POSTED BY Crazy_Pk on | November 19, 2011, 11:06 GMT

    My team for Pakistan next (4th ODI) match , Hafeez, Farhat, Hammad, Misbah, Shoaib M, Akmal, Arfidi, Sarfraz, Gul, Ajmal,Junaid... InshaAllah we will win and wrap up the series.

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    When Hafeez started he had terrible batting techniques, but man this guy is a fighter. He actually learned on the job and shows the rest that with hard working and commitement you can do anything.

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 10:25 GMT

    Hafeez still needs to improve his game. When it matters he has let TEAM PAKISTAN down. Two examples come to mind, WORLD CUP semi final when he was playing well and had he not played reverse sweep Pakistan would have probably beaten India. The first test against Sri Lanka, his poor fielding cost TEAM PAKISTAN the test match which meant our test ranking did not improve. Also I want to see how he performs against really good team like England. In fact test series and ODI series against England will tell us alot about the quality of Pakistani players and whether they are of international standards.

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    How useful will Hafeez be in AUS-NZ in 2015? Very Good option in Asia,Windies though.

  • POSTED BY wnwn on | November 19, 2011, 9:28 GMT

    I think it helps him to have Misbah as the captain because both play for Sargodha in Pakistan and Misbah has confidence in his bowling. Previous captains were reluctant to give him the ball but this is not the case now and his bowling confidence is now transferring to his batting.

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 9:21 GMT

    If ICC had a comeback of the year award, he would've won.

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 9:20 GMT

    My dear pakistan friends,U all have criticized the inclusion of Imaran Farhat and the captaincy of Mishba when u a defeating.Now can U appriciate the batting of Farhat and the intelligent bowling changes done by Mishba to beat Sri Lanka.Pakistan cricket has always suffered by the regular changes in captaincy.Let tuk tuk to br the captain for pakistan at least in next 2 years and let a young guy to be appointed as the vice captain to be the captain for next world cup.I suggest the best man is mohamed Hafeez.

  • POSTED BY getsetgopk on | November 19, 2011, 9:16 GMT

    Great start by Pakistan with the bat but threw away the advantage in the end, all the good work put in by Hafeez and Farhat could have easily helped the power hitters to bat Lanka out of the game but not to be, the Malinga factor is still there i thought he bowled superbly without Malinga Lanaka would be no where in world cricket on the other hand Pakistan's spinners Afridi, Ajmal and then Hafeez where relentless with Gul applying the final choke, nontheless a classic ODI battle, Lankans faught bravely but its Pakistan the most deserving winners

  • POSTED BY Behind_the_Wicket on | November 19, 2011, 8:59 GMT

    He is my most favorite player in Pakistani Team , Really , He is true fighter. Very brave in batting and very economical in bowling with very tight line & length, in every match he made problem for batsmen to get run and I think he is 2ed best fielder after Umar Akmal , I hope he will carry on his form in all formats. BEST OF LUCK MOHAMMAD HAFEEZ & PAKISTANI TEAM FOR REST OF TOUR...

  • POSTED BY rajatgupta_indianfan on | November 19, 2011, 8:56 GMT

    Its great to see Pakistan doing well. Cricket world for long has missed a top notch Pakistan team and they cant afford to do it for too long. Pakistani brand of cricket is always very exciting to watch. The surprises they spring up are tough to emulate by other teams. I think their bowling seems very strong at the moment particularly in the on days in the spin department. Its tough to get past Ajmal, Hafeez and Afridi even for the best line ups. And the pace attack is still very good too. so they all back themselves very well. they have some fire in batting but hope it goes on to click at the level which was set by the combination of Anwar, Inzamam, Salim Malik, Ezaz and Sohail batting together

  • POSTED BY khurramsch on | November 19, 2011, 8:31 GMT

    yes a great comeback from a player, both in tests & 1 day. in 2011 i think he is paksitan top scorer in odi & in list of all. good close game of cricket. But pakistan need to correct their mistakes. hafez got out in 28th over not 38th . sending razak up is ok decision but the shots played by razak, farhat, umar akmal, was so crazy that it seemed that its the last 2/3 overs game everybody is trying to hit.& top of it misbahs crazy runout. PP doesnt mean to hit everything specialy now when 10 overs are to b played after pp.

  • POSTED BY Lord.emsworth on | November 19, 2011, 7:33 GMT

    Hafeez is fast becoming Pakistans key player. Pakistan can be great again with this united team. SL? I've said this before & I'm saying it again SL are in for a long sojourn in the wilderness. All the new (few) selections are utter failures, batters & bowlers alike. They shine very briefly and then they can't deliver. Neither does it help when the chief selector criticizes his own selection! And the much touted captain in the wings, Mathews, seems to have poor cricketing acumen. In the 46.2 over he taps the ball and runs a single to leave poor Prassana, a sad number 10 to face the music. If Mathews kept the strike SL may have well won. SL had a fighting chance as long as Dilshan was on strike and scoring, but Sanga seemed hell bent to run his captain out (twice). Dilshan lost the plot after that!. SL have had a good run on the world cricket stage for a young, small cricketing nation, winning a great deal, but it's over now, at least 4 a while.

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    Hafeez would be a blessing in any team, he's a fantastic opening batsman and a more than handy offspring bowler.

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    a complete all round package :))))

  • POSTED BY Happy_AusBang on | November 19, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    "He is good at fielding" ?? The memories of the 1st test against SL in UAE are already fading.

  • POSTED BY BreathsCricket on | November 19, 2011, 5:55 GMT

    Looks like team who ll bowl nd field better on a day will win nxt matches..bcoz this series have nt produced any high scoring game..which also good to see sometimes..although i feel MJ shud hav declared nt out..

  • POSTED BY donda on | November 19, 2011, 5:52 GMT

    Good job Hafeez keep it up, long way to go, we need more performances like that to win big matches and big series. You are playing good.

  • POSTED BY Stingrayopp on | November 19, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    Mohammad Hafeez has been proving himself as a true great fighter & an essential team recruit by doing his honest hard work for many years. Good luck with best wishes & compliments to this optimistic player.

  • POSTED BY fhwasti on | November 19, 2011, 5:48 GMT

    I think in the next match i.e. 4th ODI Pakistan's lineup should be: Muhammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Hammad Azam, Shahid Afridi, Umer Gul, Saeed Ajmal and Junaid Khan. Shoaib Malik would be the sub.

  • POSTED BY tariqueanwar111 on | November 19, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    most improve player in world cricket in recent one and half year. he is asset of pak team now.........

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  • POSTED BY tariqueanwar111 on | November 19, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    most improve player in world cricket in recent one and half year. he is asset of pak team now.........

  • POSTED BY fhwasti on | November 19, 2011, 5:48 GMT

    I think in the next match i.e. 4th ODI Pakistan's lineup should be: Muhammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Hammad Azam, Shahid Afridi, Umer Gul, Saeed Ajmal and Junaid Khan. Shoaib Malik would be the sub.

  • POSTED BY Stingrayopp on | November 19, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    Mohammad Hafeez has been proving himself as a true great fighter & an essential team recruit by doing his honest hard work for many years. Good luck with best wishes & compliments to this optimistic player.

  • POSTED BY donda on | November 19, 2011, 5:52 GMT

    Good job Hafeez keep it up, long way to go, we need more performances like that to win big matches and big series. You are playing good.

  • POSTED BY BreathsCricket on | November 19, 2011, 5:55 GMT

    Looks like team who ll bowl nd field better on a day will win nxt matches..bcoz this series have nt produced any high scoring game..which also good to see sometimes..although i feel MJ shud hav declared nt out..

  • POSTED BY Happy_AusBang on | November 19, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    "He is good at fielding" ?? The memories of the 1st test against SL in UAE are already fading.

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    a complete all round package :))))

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    Hafeez would be a blessing in any team, he's a fantastic opening batsman and a more than handy offspring bowler.

  • POSTED BY Lord.emsworth on | November 19, 2011, 7:33 GMT

    Hafeez is fast becoming Pakistans key player. Pakistan can be great again with this united team. SL? I've said this before & I'm saying it again SL are in for a long sojourn in the wilderness. All the new (few) selections are utter failures, batters & bowlers alike. They shine very briefly and then they can't deliver. Neither does it help when the chief selector criticizes his own selection! And the much touted captain in the wings, Mathews, seems to have poor cricketing acumen. In the 46.2 over he taps the ball and runs a single to leave poor Prassana, a sad number 10 to face the music. If Mathews kept the strike SL may have well won. SL had a fighting chance as long as Dilshan was on strike and scoring, but Sanga seemed hell bent to run his captain out (twice). Dilshan lost the plot after that!. SL have had a good run on the world cricket stage for a young, small cricketing nation, winning a great deal, but it's over now, at least 4 a while.

  • POSTED BY khurramsch on | November 19, 2011, 8:31 GMT

    yes a great comeback from a player, both in tests & 1 day. in 2011 i think he is paksitan top scorer in odi & in list of all. good close game of cricket. But pakistan need to correct their mistakes. hafez got out in 28th over not 38th . sending razak up is ok decision but the shots played by razak, farhat, umar akmal, was so crazy that it seemed that its the last 2/3 overs game everybody is trying to hit.& top of it misbahs crazy runout. PP doesnt mean to hit everything specialy now when 10 overs are to b played after pp.