Mohammad Hafeez has announced his retirement from international cricket, bringing an end to an 18-year career with Pakistan.
Muhammad Hafeez announces retirement from international cricket
“Today I want to officially retire from the beautiful journey I started 18 years ago with Pakistan cricket,” Hafeez said while announcing his retirement at a press conference in Lahore. “I represented Pakistan with great pride, and whatever I have played throughout my 18 years, I played with dignity. And whether it’s on the field or off the field, I tried to raise Pakistan’s flag high. I am very happy and satisfied with my career and achievements, which were all for Pakistan. So this is it for me.”
Hafeez, 41, recently signed with the Lahore Qalandars for the 2018 PSL season and stated that he will remain available to franchise teams throughout the world.” As long as I am fit and can contribute with performances.”
After retiring from Test cricket in December 2018, selectors decided to ignore him in ODIs following the 2019 World Cup, when he played his final match of the format against Bangladesh at Lord’s.
Muhammad Hafeez in the T20 squad
However, after being dropped from the T20I squad in 2018, he was recalled in 2020 for the home series against Bangladesh, and finished the year with a fantastic run: he was the leading run-getter in the format, scoring at an average of 83 and a strike rate of 152. He also finished the year as the sixth-highest run-scorer in all Twenty20s, with the third-highest average and strike rate.
While Hafeez had stated that the 2020 T20 World Cup would be his final job for Pakistan, the tournament was postponed until 2021 because of the Covid-19 outbreak, and Hafeez ended up staying with the country longer.
End of an era
“The decision is what my heart told me and not driven by any critics. For me, my critics had already started [criticizing] since 2003 and people thought I wasn’t a good player. I didn’t want to turn my beautiful, positive journey into a negative one, that’s why I am here, where I started my international cricket, and [am] ending it here.”
“When you have a professional career as long as mine, you’re bound to have your share of highs and lows, and it was no different for me,” he said. “Results apart, I can say with conviction that I had more highs than lows since I had the privilege of playing with and against some of the finest exponents of the bat and the ball of my era.
Muhammad Hafeez shows his gratitude!
“While cricket has been a great learning school for me, this great sport has provided me opportunities to visit various countries, explore their cultures and make friends. These are lifelong memories, which I will cherish every day. I want to thank my fans for standing beside me understanding my lean patch, cherishing my success.”
One of the people who had asked Hafeez and Malik to “retire graciously” was PCB chairman Ramiz Raja.
When asked if the PCB influenced his choice, Hafeez remarked,
Asked if his decision was dictated by the PCB, Hafeez said, “The decision is what my heart told me and not driven by any critics. For me, my critics had already started [criticising] since 2003 and people thought I wasn’t a good player. I do respect their opinion and I have always respected them. I by no means wanted to turn my beautiful, positive journey into a negative one, that’s why I am here, at the PCB [office, at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium], where I started my international cricket. And [am] ending it here.”
Muhammad Hafeez’s accolades
He appeared in 55 Tests, 218 One-Day Internationals, and 119 Twenty-20 Internationals, scoring 12,780 runs in all formats and winning 32 Player-of-the-Match awards, the fourth-most among Pakistan players in all international cricket, behind only Shahid Afridi (43), Wasim Akram (39), and Inzamam-ul-Haq (33) in total. In addition, Hafeez won nine Player-of-the-Series accolades across all forms.
Also Read: Pakistani cricket recap of 2021
He is the only Pakistani player to have appeared in every T20 World Cup except one, which they won in 2009. He also holds the record for most T20 World Cup appearances for Pakistan. Hafeez captained Pakistan to a World T20 semi-final in 2012, but he was also captain when they were eliminated in the group stage of the 2014 edition, the first time they had failed to advance to the semi-finals of the competition. Hafeez has an overall T20I record of 18 wins (one via a one-over eliminator) and 11 losses from 29 matches as captain.
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