Mohali: Pakistani opener Muhammad Hafeez says I have never considered Pakistan team captaincy a burden rather I have enjoyed every bit of it. My stepping down from captaincy after the 2014 World T20 upset was due to the backlash he received from Pakistani fans. Imran Khan also has always supported me.
The experienced batsman in an interview to an Indian newspaper said, two years earlier in the mega event in Bangladesh, his team was unable to make it to the semi finals, which was extremely disappointing for them. The remarks passed by critics were even more disappointing for the Professor. Public at large was very angry. It was a difficult time for him and it was the time where he realized that captaincy doesn’t really carry that much importance. He said he respects others’ opinion with an open heart but he cannot tolerate if people use dirty language.
Hafeez said no team suddenly becomes incompetent after a single defeat; Pakistan lost their last league match in World T20 2014 against West Indies, who at that time were defending champions. It was hard to understand the reaction and he deemed it was appropriate to withdraw from captaincy. Replying to another question he said,
“Captaincy was no burden for me rather I enjoyed every moment. I led Pakistan team in one test and 29 T20 internationals and we won 18 short format matches”.
He went on to say, “It was a golden opportunity for me to retain my position as I had extraordinary relations with my teammates and had all the blessings of the board officials.”
Hafeez exclaimed that his opinion doesn’t carry much of an importance over the issue of different captains in different formats; it’s simply a board’s policy. He considers Imran Khan, the iconic skipper of Pakistan, as his role model regarding the method of captaincy. In a reply on a query about advising Afridi, he clearly backed off saying, Boom Boom is a veteran cricketer for Pakistan, he is vastly experienced, how can he advise him for captaincy.
Shahid Afridi is about to say goodbye to this gentlemen’s game, Pakistan will look for a new leader in the shortest format of the game. Sarfaraz Ahmed and Muhammad Hafeez are the names that are in the focus to give the captaincy band.