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Hafeez admits to poor showing in Tests

Umar Farooq

September 25, 2013

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Mohammad Hafeez trudges back to the pavilion after a low score, Zimbabwe v Pakistan, 1st Test, Harare, 1st day, September 3, 2013
Mohammad Hafeez: "The ball is coming on to my bat but I am not able to play a big innings. It happens with any big cricketer" © AFP
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Mohammad Hafeez is quite likely to be axed from Pakistan's Test squad given his poor showing in the format this year but, Hafeez said, he couldn't complain if that happened and it would be part and parcel of the game. A lack of first-class game time, he said, has contributed to his woes, but he still believes he is "one big innings" away from establishing himself in Test cricket.

"It's not a bad patch, it's not form too," Hafeez said in Lahore. "It happens in cricket, you try your best but sometimes you can't perform in a particular format. It's not a matter of technique even, the ball is coming on to my bat but I am not able to play a big innings. It happens with any big cricketer."

Hafeez has aggregated 102 runs in 10 Test innings this year, and his biggest struggle was the three-match Test series against South Africa in February. That signaled the start of his current slump, as he was doing reasonably well since being recalled in 2010 after a three-year gap. In South Africa, he was exposed against moving ball and became Dale Steyn's bunny. On the recent trip to Zimbabwe, he remained off-color in the Tests, scoring 59 in four innings despite being the Man of the Series in the ODIs.

He cited Pakistan's lack of Test matches as a major hurdle for him to turn his form around: "If you look at Test series we played against South Africa six months ago, we didn't play first-class cricket [until the Zimbabwe series this month], so it's a lengthy gap and it's not easy to adapt yourself in the format after such lengthy gap. But yes it's not an excuse, I admit that in the previous five Test matches my performance has not been good and I am concerned about it."

Given his current form, Hafeez says he will accept his fate - whatever it be - when the squad is announced. "I am playing well in the other formats and it's not like that I am not doing the handwork, but maybe I need to be doing more handwork. I am just one big inning away from being settled in the format. But the selectors' job is to pick the best team for Pakistan, if they think my place is there in the team, they will pick me, otherwise I will accept their decision."

Hafeez, 32, is currently the captain of Pakistan's Twenty20 team. He scored 665 runs at 23.75 as a T20 opener but his batting average started to rise after dropping to No. 3 - this year, in four matches at the position he has averaged 52.00. When asked if he would bat down the order to find his rhythm in Tests, Hafeez said: "It's not my decision, to decide whether to bat lower down the order. I am always ready to play at whatever the number they want me to play at, but it's the decision of team management."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here

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Posted by Crick_Expert on (September 27, 2013, 21:28 GMT)

Kingsland Selection Board announced final 11 players for SA tour.

1)Younis Khan(CAPT) 2)Shan Massood 3)Nasir Jamshed 4)Shoiab Maqsood 5)Haris Sohail 6)Umar Akmal(WKP) 7)AFRIDI(Vice-CAPT) 8)Ajmal/Rehman 9)Junaid 10)Irfan 11)Ahmed Shahzad

Sorry no place for Mr. tuktuk, Asad Safiq, Azhar Ali, Adnan Akmal, Sohail Tanvir and Professor.

Posted by   on (September 27, 2013, 0:30 GMT)

Hafeez has proven he can perform in all conditions and in all 3 departments of the game , Bowling , Batting and Feilding. What seems to be a problem here is the support he has to give Misbah. Its the competitiveness and politics of roles in such exposed and rewarded careers. He wants to be captain in all formats. As a Pakistani Cricket supporter and lover I would say shape up or be ready to suffer first step consequences. Competing for roles in the team is ok but underperforming consciously or subconsciously is unacceptable.

Posted by Mikhail.Sajjad.Azhar on (September 26, 2013, 22:45 GMT)

Pls ask Hafeez what he think of himself? Big cricketer may be but for sure not a normal all-rounder. If he is really playing as an all-rounder he should have been batting down the order like most all-rounders do (except Kallis, unless he think himself as Kalis). Problem is that in his world of illusion he is a top order batsmen, in reality he is not. He does not have talent/class to perform at top. Just look at his batting average, I think he should be holding some kind of world record by playing more than 100 matches as an opener with such a low average. For ten years he is trying to prove himself as a top order batsmen. Earlier in his career he was dropped for the same reason. He said he can bat down the order if management wants but who can stop him if he wants go down the order and play as a normal all-rounder? He just think himself as a senior & wanted to get all the opportunities. I think he would have done great he had played his entire career down the order like allrounders do

Posted by legsidewide on (September 26, 2013, 22:29 GMT)

@ICCexpert and in case you were wondering who Pakistan's current best t20 batsman is, that'll be the guy who have up the captaincy after constantly being told he was too slow and only fit for tests. As in, the one who's been scoring plenty of t20 runs in the CPL and CL qualifiers. Funny how the Misbah's the best batsman we have for t20, yet he was hounded out of the team. The idea of a format-specialist is a myth.

Posted by   on (September 26, 2013, 18:14 GMT)

i dont get it , its not about form , its not about technique , its not about bad patch as well . so what is it about ? mr hafeez , inspite accepting the decision to be dropped, have courage to stand out ur self ...

Posted by legsidewide on (September 26, 2013, 17:11 GMT)

@ICCExpert you mention Hales and Lumb as T20 specialists, but there's no way they strike any fear in the hearts of opposition. The same goes for a ll the T20 specialists England pick, the Butlers and the Dernbachs. They're all liabilities. If you recall, it was Collingwood who brought them T20 success by captaining in 2010 tournament, and people like KP, Broad and Swann, not Yardy or Lumb. Your argument doesn't hold - it's teams with test performer who win at T20. Even India right now who are succeeding, the players who win them T20 are, unsurprisingly, also performing at tests: Dhoni, Dhawa, Kohli. This whole policy of selecting specialist teams as a unit per format is a proven failure.

Posted by legsidewide on (September 26, 2013, 17:05 GMT)

@ICCexpert Sorry, you've got this wrong. Kallis has shown that (in IPL at least) that he can be an invaluable T20 player. So much so that he got drafted back into the national side for the last World T20. Amla has respectable figures in the T20s he's played, and his strike rate shows he can increase the pace of his game for the format. I'd disagree over the England trio you mentioned. Trott does just fine in ODIs, despite all the criticism he gets for not playing like MS Dhoni. Cook proved a lot of people wrong when he took over the ODI captaincy. Bell is a strokemaker who can definitely play in shorter formats. What we've seen in recent years is proof that the best test players can scale their games down, but the T20 mavericks can't scale themselves up. It's the difference between being a Jacques Kallis versus a Glenn Maxwell. Pakistan shouldn't pick nobodies for their T20 teams - in case you forgot, it was the likes of Akmal, Afridi and the captaincy of Younis who won the World T20

Posted by   on (September 26, 2013, 14:04 GMT)

Not only he is a total waste player (just look at his avg as an opener), but he is also involved in politics, so anyone with some sense wouldn't support him.

Posted by   on (September 26, 2013, 13:42 GMT)

I've been a great supporter of Hafeez but Test cricket is not for him. Don't even talk about giving chances. He certainly is not going to perform against accomplished bowlers likes of Stern & Morkel. If you want to give chances then give it to younger players. Fawad, Aslam, Sadaf. Also Hafeez is useful as a bowler but that's for ODI that can work, but bat him lower down the order as pinch hitter and expect a full quota of bowling.

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