LAHORE: Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez claimed that the Pakistan Cricket Team is unprepared for the upcoming T20 World Cup, scheduled to be held in Australia later this year.
Hafeez, while speaking in ARY News’ show Bouncer (Eid Special), claimed that the green shirts are missing the composition for playing well in the Australian conditions.
“I’m hoping and praying that Pakistan’s team does well in the World Cup. However, I believe the team still lacks the necessary components for such results in Australian conditions,” he said.
“We’ve been unable to hit the process of winning in Australia. I think our middle order is still unsettled. Whereas in the bowling department, only [Shaheen Shah Afridi] and [Haris Rauf] are performing well but they too do not have much experience of playing in those conditions. So I think it would be quite challenging for the side,” he added.
The former captain further advised the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to finalize the squad for the upcoming World Cup.
“I think the board should build a better team combination and finalise the squad in the next five to six months. Those players – with which the management has already decided to go for the mega event – should be given ample opportunities and should not be dropped after brief stints,” Hafeez said.
“It would give a lot of confidence to them and the management should accept their failures and success in that period of time,” he added.
No Cricket during Eid
On being asked how Hafeez feels now that he is celebrating Eid at home after being on several tours over the last few years owing to his commitment to the team, he replied, that it is challenging for players the PCB should take measures to provide them with some off days during the special events like Eid.
“I believe that celebrating Eid away from home is difficult, but it is something that you cannot refuse, and sadly, our board does not make any efforts to protect players from this issue,” he said.
“Similarly, most nations do not play cricket during the Christmas season, and we too should consider allowing players to take some time off to celebrate this special occasion with their families,” he added.
Retirement from International Cricket
On a question regarding his retirement from international cricket and how did he get to a point of making the decision of hanging his boots, the former captain Hafeez claimed that he wanted to make a respectful exit and clear the way for the youngsters.
“I always played cricket to serve Pakistan and to earn respect. I self-analyzed myself and got to a decision that it is the very best time to make a respectful exit,” he said.
“I wanted to provide a chance to the young players who have been waiting in line for a slot, and when I say the moment was perfectly correct, it’s because I wanted to allow the upcoming players a year to settle into the team so that Pakistan could go on to win the World Cup,” he concluded.
Multiple choices for the captaincy role
When asked about Shaheen leading Lahore Qalandars to their first Pakistan Super League (PSL) victory, which has created a debate regarding several captaincy possibilities in the form of Babar, Rizwan, and Shaheen, Hafeez responded that having multiple alternatives is a good indication for Pakistan cricket.
“In my opinion, if we have multiple options for the leadership role then it is beneficial for Pakistan cricket,” Hafeez said.
“If we are getting a different style of leadership for Pakistan then I would say it is a really good sign for Pakistan cricket moving forward,” he concluded.