Hafeez feels vindicated over changing Pakistan’s opening pair

He served as director of the team recently

April 26, 2024
Babar Azam and Saim Ayub (R). - PCB

RAWALPINDI: Former cricketer Mohammad Hafeez feels vindicated over his decision to change the opening pair of the Pakistan T20I team.

The T20 opening duo of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan was broken during the tenure of Hafeez as team director.

"Babar and Rizwan are great players but does not represent the whole Pakistan team. Babar and Rizwan cannot take whole responsibility of the team upon their shoulders,” Hafeez told Geo News in an interview.

“I felt Saim Ayub as an opener was a solution for us. Why current team management has retained Saim as an opener if I was wrong? Babar has been batting at number three since last seven eight years. There will be nothing new for Babar to bat at number three in T20.

“Rizwan and Saim as openers followed by Babar and Fakhar at three will make a strong top-order for Pakistan. Babar is a strong batter who knows how to bat in different conditions. Saim must play as an opener in T20 World Cup 2024 despite early failures."

He also shed light on the importance of strike-rate.

"Cricket has changed now. You can compromise on consistency but performance must be impactful. Other cricket teams don't rely on single player. You can see their different players giving performance in different matches,” he said.

Hafeez disagreed with the comparison made between Babar and India’s Virat Kohli.

"There is simply no comparison between both the players. Kohli has given great performances for India. Babar is a fantastic player and can bring improvements in his game. This is a wrong perception that Babar has to perform every time. However, Babar has to adapt to skills required to play modern day cricket. Babar is learning quickly and has understood areas of improvements. He played with an intent in last PSL which are good signs."

Hafeez is also optimistic about chances of Pakistan to win the upcoming T20 World Cup.

"Pakistan has full potential to win T20 World Cup. They only need confidence. The changes in top hierarchy of PCB does affect Pakistan team,” he concluded.