Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez retires from international cricket
Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez announced his retirement from international cricket on Monday. Hafeez ends his illustrious international career that spanned nearly 19 years. He finishes as the second-highest run-scorer for Pakistan in T20 Internationals (2,514). Hafeez is among the few Pakistani batters to have scored over 10,000 international runs. The 41-year-old will continue to play franchise cricket around the world.
"I say goodbye to international cricket with pride and satisfaction. I have earned and accomplished more than I had initially envisaged and for that, I am thankful to all my fellow cricketers, captains, support staff, and the PCB who helped me out," said Hafeez. "I am extremely fortunate, lucky, and proud to have been considered worthy of donning the national kit with Pakistan emblem."
Earlier, Hafeez had announced that he would retire after the conclusion of the 2020 T20 World Cup. However, he took an extension after the tournament got postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "The decision is what my heart told me and not driven by critics. For me, critics had already started [criticizing] since 2003 and people thought I wasn't a good player," he added.
Hafeez had retired from Test cricket in December 2018 in order to focus on limited-overs cricket. He bid adieu to the longest format after featuring in the third Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi. Hafeez played his last ODI during the 2019 World Cup.
Hafeez made his international debut in an ODI against Zimbabwe in April 2003. He went on to score 6,614 runs from 218 ODIs at 32.90. He also owns 139 wickets in the format. Hafeez represented Pakistan in 119 T20Is, scoring 2,514 runs and taking 61 wickets. The experienced all-rounder also racked up 3,652 runs in the Test format.
Hafeez was on song in 2020 in the shortest format. He was the leading run-scorer in T20Is in the COVID-19-curtailed year. The star all-rounder finished the year with 415 runs from 10 T20Is, averaging a prolific 83.00. His amassed these runs at a strike-rate of over 150 (152.57). The likes of KL Rahul (404) and Dawid Malan (397) followed Hafeez on the list.
Hafeez finished with 32 Player-of-the-Match awards in international cricket, the fourth-most by a Pakistan player after Shahid Afridi (43), Wasim Akram (39), and Inzamam-ul-Haq (33). He won as many as nine Player-of-the-Series awards across formats. Hafeez has the most T20 World Cup appearances for Pakistan. In 2012, Hafeez led Pakistan to the World T20 semi-final. Pakistan won a total of 18 T20Is under Hafeez.