Mohammad Hafeez earns surprise PSL call-up as Quetta Gladiators replacement

42-year-old was Player-of-the-Match in PSL 2022 final, but initially went undrafted this season

Umar Farooq
Umar Farooq
Mohammad Hafeez looks on during a training session, Dubai, November 11, 2021

Mohammad Hafeez starred in the 2022 PSL final for Lahore Qalandars  •  ICC via Getty

Mohammad Hafeez has earned a surprise call-up for PSL 2023 at the age of 42. Originally unpicked in the draft, Hafeez has signed with Quetta Gladiators as a replacement for Ahsan Ali, who has been ruled out due to a knee injury.
Hafeez played an instrumental role in Lahore Qalandars' PSL title last year. He hit 69 off 46 balls in the final, then took 2 for 23 in his four overs with the ball as Qalandars beat Multan Sultans at Gaddafi Stadium.
He has since played in the Dhaka Premier Division in Bangladesh and in the Kashmir Premier League, but his playing career appeared to be effectively over. He had been exploring off-field options, and had become a prominent cricket analyst on Pakistani television.
But Gladiators, who have failed to reach the play-offs in three consecutive seasons after winning the PSL in 2019, have given him an opportunity. They play their opening game of the 2023 tournament on Wednesday night in Multan, against Multan Sultans.
It's not clear if Hafeez will merit a place in Gladiators' playing XI, but they want to ensure they have plenty of options in their squad. They have rebuilt their core this year, with Pakistan's man of the moment, Iftikhar Ahmed, arriving at the PSL in prime form after an excellent BPL season.
Hafeez retired from Test cricket in December 2018, and Pakistan moved on from him in ODIs after the 2019 World Cup. But he enjoyed a remarkable run in T20 cricket after he was recalled to the T20I side in 2020, finishing the year as the leading run-scorer in the format.
While he had initially announced that the 2020 T20 World Cup would be his final assignment for Pakistan, the tournament was pushed to 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, he did not call time on his international career until January last year.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent