Ramiz Raja vs Shoaib Malik vs Mohammad Hafeez: feuding trio's careers in comparison

Ramiz Raja vs Shoaib Malik vs Mohammad Hafeez: beefing trio's careers in comparison

By Zohaib Ahmed Majeed
April 10, 2020

Unless you've been biding your lockdown not at home but under a rock, you’d know that Ramiz Raja, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez have been beefing over the past week or so.

In the blue corner stands Raja, the one man army, the glorified English teacher, but the only World Cup winner in this battle.

And fighting out of the red corner are Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez. These are two almost 40-year-old all-rounders, both Saqlain Mushtaq clones, both with a history of troubled bowling actions, and both pretty similar in the sense that they want to hang around the national team at least until there is a cure for coronavirus.

So Raja vs Malik and Hafeez has sparked a huge debate. Most of the cricket experts and pundits, all from Raja’s era and his friends, are on his side. But fans, who grew up watching Ha-lik (let’s call them that!) are siding with them.

The word on the streets is that a lesser cricketer, even if a senior, cannot give advice to someone who has had a better career. The principle looks flawed but hey, we did not make the rules.

So without challenging the rules, we decided to find out which of the three has had a great career statistically or otherwise.

ODI batting average

Malik: 34.55               Hafeez: 32.9                   Raja: 32.09

Malik is the clear winner here. He has an edge of more than two runs in the category. It’s surprising that Hafeez, who was considered the better batsman, has a lower ODI average than Malik. Even then, the Professor scored almost an entire run more than Raja (32.09) over the course of his career.

ODI batting strike rate

The other major metric to gauge batting quality is the strike rate, and Raja again lags far behind. Malik leads the field with an s/r of 81.9, Hafeez is second again with 76.61 and Raja labours into the third place with an astonishingly low 63.31.

Test batting average

But one can argue that in Raja’s era the main format was Test cricket. So let’s check if he had fared any better in the five-day cricket. Much to our surprise, his average in Tests (31.83) was even lower than ODIs. Hafeez ranks at the top in this category with 37.64 runs per innings, and Malik second with 35.14.

This was not even close.


Raja, however, makes up some ground in the clutch category. He was a member of the only Pakistan side that has won a 50-over World Cup. And those who think that Raja was merely a beneficiary of others’ brilliance, they are wrong. Across three world cups, Raja averaged an astonishing 53.84 runs per innings, scoring three centuries and two fifties. Never once was he out on a duck in a world cup match.

In contrast, Malik has always wilted at world cups, averaging an astounding 16.66 runs per innings. We all know what happened at the 2019 World Cup.

READHow Shoaib Malik stained his legacy on English soil

Meanwhile, Hafeez, who is the master of doing just enough but never enough, averages 28.41 at world cups, with his average down almost four runs at cricket’s biggest event.

Ha-lik also have been useful bowlers when not banned and also have the edge in fielding category. Raja earns extra points for his leadership ability.

Bottom line being, that while Ha-lik have scored more and at better rates, they have always been found wanting and melted when the light shines the brightest. Raja excelled when the going got tough.

Draw your own conclusions.