The Professor quits

January 9, 2022

The prolific Hafeez scored 12,789 runs and took 253 wickets in 392 international matches. He appeared in three ODI and six T20 world cups

The Professor quits

Last week, Pakistan's veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez retired from all formats of international cricket. He will continue playing T20 leagues. He had initially announced that the 2020 T20 World Cup would be his final assignment for Pakistan. When the tournament was pushed to 2021 because of Covid-19, Hafeez ended up extending his time with Pakistan.

Hafeez, 41, nicknamed Professor, had retired from Test cricket in 2018. He was not selected for the ODI against Bangladesh at Lord's in the World Cup in 2019. His last international game was the ICC T20 World Cup semi-final against Australia in UAE in November 2021.

Hafeez made his international debut against Zimbabwe in Sharjah in April 2003. He made his Test debut against Bangladesh in Karachi on August 20 the same year. He played his last Test in August 2016 against England in which he scored 0 and 2.

He played 55 Tests, 218 One-day Internationals and 119 Twenty20 matches for Pakistan. In Tests, he scored 3,652 runs at an average of 37.64, including 10 centuries and 12 fifties.

In ODIs, Hafeez scored 6614 runs, averaging 32.90 with 11 hundred and 38 half-centuries.

In the shortest format, he managed 2,514 runs with the average of 26.46, including 14 fifties.

Besides this, he took 53, 139 and 61 wickets in Test, ODIs and T20Is, respectively.

Despite multiple skills, Hafeez failed to cement his place in his first seven years in international cricket, primarily due to his inability to convert his starts into substantial scores. He scored plenty of pretty 30s and 40s.

In his 18-year-long career, Hafeez scored 12,789 runs and took 253 wickets while representing Pakistan in 392 international matches, including three ICC ODI world cups and six T20 world cups.

He received 32 Man-of-the-Match awards in all international cricket, the fourth-highest among Pakistan players, behind Shahid Afridi (43), Wasim Akram (39) and Inzamam-ul-Haq (33).

Hafeez also earned nine Man-of-the-Series awards across formats.

After being dropped from the T20I side in 2018, he was recalled in 2020 for the home series against Bangladesh, and ended the year with a remarkable run. He was the leading run-getter in the format that year, scoring at an average of 83 and a strike rate of 152. He ended the year as the overall sixth-highest run-scorer across all T20s, with the third-highest average and the third-best strike rate.

Hafeez had a strong opinion against the selection of players who were involved in match fixing. He opposed to selection of fast bowler Muhammad Amir in 2016. Hafeez turned down Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) franchise Chittagong Vikings's offer of around Rs10 million in 2015-16, because Chittagong had Amir in their squad.

He said he would not share the dressing room with a player who had tarnished the image of Pakistan.

In 2018, Hafeez was not happy with his demotion to B category when the PCB central contracts were announced. Hafeez chose not to sign the contract. He said if PCB did not give him respect and restore his A category he would leave cricket.

But the PCB seemed uninterested in revising the contract offered to Hafeez.

According to some reports, then coach Mickey Arthur and other officials decided to favour young players to prepare for the 2019 World Cup. Arthur was reportedly not keen on including Hafeez in the world cup squad.

Hafeez was banned as a bowler thrice, in November 2014, July 2015 and October 2017. But every time he managed to come back after remedial work on his action.

After a disappointing Test series against New Zealand in UAE in 2018, the struggling opener announced retiring from Tests. In his farewell Test, against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi he scored 0 and 8.

He was also axed from the Asia Cup squad as Inzamam-ul-Haq, chairman of the national selection committee, wanted to give other players a chance. Hafeez went back to domestic cricket and mounted pressures on the selectors with his performances with both bat and ball.

His double-century for Sui Northern Gas Pipelines, against Habib Bank Limited, in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy boosted his case for a return.

In April 2020, then commentator Ramiz Raja advised Shoaib Malik and Hafeez to quit international cricket to create space for youngsters. Ramiz's argument was that Pakistan had a good pool of players and must move ahead with them.

But Hafeez and Malik insisted they still had plenty of cricket left in them.

Perhaps the most interesting detail of his career is his failure against South Africa's fast bowler Dale Steyn who dismissed him 15 times in international matches. The two came across each other 28 times since January 26, 2007, when in Cape Town Steyn first bowled to Hafeez.

Recently he signed with Lahore Qalandars for the 2022 edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and confirmed that he would continue to be available for franchise teams around the world "as long as I am fit and can contribute with performances".

The Professor quits