Mohammad Hafeez, a veteran all-rounder from Pakistan, announced his retirement from international cricket on Monday, January 3. Hafeez, often known as 'The Professor,' had an 18-year worldwide career.
“Today I want to officially retire from the beautiful journey I started 18 years ago with Pakistan cricket,” Hafeez announced at a press conference in Lahore.
Criticism towards PCB
“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,” he added.
Talking to the media after announcing his decision, Hafeez stated that the "biggest disappointment" of his career was the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) permitting cricketers suspected of match-fixing to represent the country. He stated that a player charged with corruption should never be selected to play.
"To me, the biggest disappointment and hurt of my career was when I and Azhar Ali took a principled stand on this issue, but we were told by the board chairman that if we don't want to play, fine, but the concerned player will play," Hafeez told the reporters.
He also stated that PCB chairman Ramiz Raja's words had no bearing on his decision to quit. Former Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi has previously recommended him and Shoaib Malik to quit from international cricket.
Mohammad Hafeez, an aggressive hitter and excellent spinner, played 55 Tests, 218 ODIs, and 119 T20Is, scoring 12,780 runs and winning 32 Player-of-the-Match awards, the fourth-most among Pakistan players in all international cricket, trailing only Shahid Afridi (43), Wasim Akram (39) and Inzamam-ul-Haq (33) In addition, Hafeez won nine Player-of-the-Series accolades across all forms.
In Tests, he scored 3652 runs and won 53 batting wickets, while in ODIs, he scored 6614 runs and won 139 balls. He concluded his T20I career with 2514 runs and 61 tackles. He retired in 2018, and the selectors moved him to ODIs following the 2019 World Cup.
After being sidelined from the T20I team in 2018, he was recalled in 2020 for the home series against Bangladesh, where he finished the year as the highest run-getter in the format, scoring at an average of 83 and a strike rate of 152. He also concluded the year as the sixth-highest run-scorer in all T20s, with the third-highest average and strike rate.
Hafeez has stated that the 2020 World Cup would be his final international assignment. However, when the tournament was postponed until 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was able to extend his career in Pakistan by a year.
He strengthened Pakistan's performance at the 2021 T20 World Cup, helping them to impressive wins over India and New Zealand en route to the semi-finals.
He is the only Pakistani player to have played in all but one T20 World Cup, which they won in 2009. He also holds the Pakistan record for most T20 World Cup appearances.
As captain, Hafeez led Pakistan to the World T20 semi-finals in 2012, but he was also the captain when they were eliminated in the group stage in the 2014 edition, the first time they had failed to advance to the tournament's semi-finals. Hafeez has an overall T20I record of 18 wins – one via a one-over eliminator – and 11 losses from 29 matches as captain.
He has signed with Lahore Qalandars for the upcoming Pakistan Super League season and will remain available for franchise cricket around the world, according to a report on Geo News, despite the fact that the player has not yet responded.
“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,” Hafeez said.