South Africa v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Centurion, 2nd day February 23, 2013

Nothing wrong with my technique - Hafeez


Mohammad Hafeez, Pakistan's opening batsman, has fiercely denied being the team's weak link despite sub-standard performances with the bat. Hafeez registered his fourth single-digit score of the series to open Pakistan up for the second time in the match and leave them staring at a whitewash.

Despite posting his highest score of the series in the first innings - 18, Hafeez has had a disappointing time overall with just 43 runs from six innings. His record outside the subcontinent and Zimbabwe is similarly dismal with his average sitting at 15.59.

Still, he believes he is fit to continue as an opener at Test level. "I am really working hard in the nets, it's just that I got some good balls in the series," a defensive Hafeez said at the end of day two. "There is nothing wrong with my technique, it's just that the runs aren't coming and I am not performing for the team."

After surviving for more than an hour in Pakistan's first innings, Hafeez looked set to turn his fortunes around. He was driving well and looked more comfortable at the crease than he has thus far. But he succumbed to a familiar problem that ran through the entire line-up today.

As he tried to fend off extra bounce from Kyle Abbott, he popped a chance up to Dean Elgar at gully to spark Pakistan's collapse. In the second innings, it was the other problem Pakistan's openers have had that affected Hafeez - the struggle against the new ball with its pace and movement. Dale Steyn was keen to finish the job and steamed in, Hafeez was stuck in his crease and played on.

Deliveries like that, not his own inability to deal with them or the conditions, are what Hafeez thinks has hampered him this series. "The bowler did the basics right, especially by pitching the ball in the right areas," he explained. "And credit must go to them, especially to the debutant Abbott, who bowled really well. There is not too much in the pitch, there is some bounce which we expected."

Hafeez has also been under-utilised with the ball, except at the Wanderers where he made a major impact, but feels the captain "knows how to handle the players," and does not see that as a way in which he could have contributed more. Instead, he remains symbolic of Pakistan's malaise, although he also insists their troubles are not as serious as they look.

"In Cape Town we had some good moments. We couldn't put pressure on them but we are trying to fight it out. If we have one good partnership here, we can fight it out. We are very capable of scoring runs on any track. We need things to change. The series will go on and the boys will come out with some good performances," he said.

For that, Pakistan will need a Herculean partnership, even better than the one Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq put on at Newlands, which was the highest by visiting batsmen in South Africa in seven years. Younis is at the crease and Shafiq is yet to come. They also have Imran Farhat, who didn't come out to bat in the second innings. He was struck on the hand and has since had an x-ray taken, but will be fine to bat on the third day. Pakistan's chances still appear thin.

The South African attack, even without Morne Morkel and Jacques Kallis, remains potent and aggressive. Perhaps more importantly, they are uber-confident, something that was evident in Graeme Smith enforcing the follow-on. "We all thought of not having to bat last but it was a very positive move," AB de Villiers explained. "Graeme showed confidence in the bowlers. Hopefully in the morning session, it will move around a lot like it did today. I found it played quite well after lunch on day one but it does a bit in the morning."

Pakistan have had to contend with many early bursts in the series and those words will not give them any comfort. In this situation, only small goals are worthwhile, such as getting through the first over, then the first hour and then the first session. If they can achieve some of those, Hafeez may be proved right in some ways. "We lost the series but this game was a little bit different and we have to come up with some good performances," he said.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anit on February 24, 2013, 15:21 GMT

    Actually there is nothing wrong in Hafeez's technique. That is what his technique is. He can only perform in subcontinent conditions. He can't play in seaming and bouncy wickets. There is nothing new in this weakness in general for subcontinent batsmen who are accustomed to play on flat wickets where ball doesn't bounce much above waist. Look at how Indian batsmen are performing outside of India. Its the same story here too.

  • mazen on February 24, 2013, 13:13 GMT

    The first step to improve ones technique is to realize that the problem is their, but Hafeez isn't an improved cricketer when it comes to play test match cricket outside sub-continent. I think Pakistani whole batting line-up, except few individual herculean performances, lacks even the basics to play swing and seam bowling , what to say about batting against Steyn and Co. Hafeez may be good for t20 or to a certain extent for ODIs but on sub-continent pitches but he is not good to play outside sub-continent. Pakistan's batsmen ultra defensive approach has been another factor for this shameful loss. Well this humiliation was on the cards. The SA bowlers fell prey to Clarke's aggression and nearly lost that match. Pakistan disappoint the whole nation with this dismal performance. Pakistan, like other sub-continent teams, just good to play on sub-continent pitches. We despised India's 8-0 and 2-1, but look at Pakistan's 3-0 with just one good fight in the second test. Pathetic performance.

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    Hafiz has always been lacking something.. techniques or form. I don't think it's a good excuse to say that he is getting out by good deliveries, still he is the best option we've got! Also, its good that Pak slectors are trying new young bowlers.. Even if its bc of injuries. Although, I would've liked to see more young batsmen instead of Farhat & Ali. And I'm really surprised why Jamshed is left out for Farhat; Farhat hasn't performed for a long time and he doesn't deserve another chance.. He is eating into someone else's piece of pie. I think if any batsmen or bowler does not force a permanent spot in 2-3 comebacks, he wount cement it in 4, 5 or 10 opportunities, it's bc he is not meant to be there and so he doesn't deserve more chances. This always happens in Pak, why do we need players like Shoaib Malik for 1days. He Will NOT help the team in anyway whatsoever, His Time Had Gone.. Why dont the selectors understand but then again, i guess we are used to making "good decisions".

  • alfred on February 24, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    @ Waheedahmad Malik...... lol, very well put.

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    Pakistan needs a complete change in the batting squad ...God knows why they don't try new players ...Nasir failed so they got in Imran Farhat ??? is that what all you have ? you name it and almost eveyone has been a failure with bat ..Hafeez, Azhar, Asad, Shoaib Malik, Razzaq, Afridi, Farhat, Sarfaraz, Kamran etc etc ...Pakistanis needs a complete makeover in the batting field else they will keep being embarrassed again and again.

  • Simon on February 24, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    From what I've seen Hafeez has got out to some pretty good balls. I think it's unfortunate that Pakistan don't have the services of the suspended young fast bowler who seemed as good as anyone going around. Hopefully he'll be back soon and showing the outstanding talent he is. England were shamefully pathetic against Pakistan recently which wasn't even a home game for Pakistan.It seems only Australia has the spine to stand up to SA as England were also meek at home vs SA.

  • Danish on February 24, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    This is not THAT time anymore when players like hafeez used to say stuff and people took their word for it!Now a days people can tell for themselves if the batsman is technically sound or not.And hafeez is certainly one of the worst openers in the world,technically! Now no matter what he says,we WILL NOT believe him.We'll believe younus khan because he is giving them a fight atleast.Hafeez is a good batsman and i like him.but now he's saying stuff like there's nothing wrong with his batting etc..thats not acceptable because... YES HAFEEZ,A LOT IS WRONG ABOUT YOUR TECHNIQUE!!WAKE UP FROM THE DENIAL AND MAN UP TO FACE THE CHALLENGE!

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    Hafeez got some unbelievable good deliveries , on which any batsman can get out, SA pitches are not good for the opener, even SA openers also struggling for runs,, its not completely about getting use to of conditions, for me he played only one poor shot during the third test match in first innings, all other dismissals where gem of the deliveries, so it is my humble request to all people that dont shout on the performance of one series,, its not easy to build players so no need to waste them on the basis of performance of one series.. SA team is unbeatable on his own condition but i am sure we will beat them once they come in UAE in octobor, SA and Abdur Rehman will expose there weakness against quality spin bowling.

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    PCB doesn't underestimate the value of experience if Muhammad Yousf was a part of team then the score board would be different. i don't know why is he not playing. there is a huge shame on selectors.

  • hamaad on February 24, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    Foolish statement by hafeez. First step towards improvement is to accept your drawbacks and mistakes. Hafeez isn't ready to accept them. How could he improve?

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