LAHORE: Former Pakistan Cricket captain Mohammad Hafeez has announced his retirement from international cricket 18 years after making his debut in Sharjah against Zimbabwe on 3 April 2003.
Hafeez represented Pakistan in 392 international matches, scoring 12,780 runs and taking 253 wickets, besides also captaining the side in 32 international matches. He was a member of the Pakistan side that won the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 in England and Wales. Overall, Hafeez played in three 50-over World Cups (2007, 2011, and 2019), six 20-over World Cups (2007, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2021), and three ICC Champions Trophies (2006, 2013, and 2017).
In the ICC Player Rankings, Hafeez achieved the highest Test rankings of 22nd in batting, 29th in bowling, and fifth in all-rounders. In the ODI rankings, Hafeez’s highest ranking was 13th in March 2014, while he topped the bowling and all-rounder charts in August 2012 and January 2013, respectively. Hafeez’s rankings in T20I were equally impressive, peaking to ninth in batting in February 2007, third in bowling in August 2013, and number-one in all-rounders in March 2014.
Mohammad Hafeez addressing a news conference here on Monday said: “Today I say good-bye to international cricket with pride and satisfaction. In fact, 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 Pakistan Cricket Board who helped me out during my career.
“And, of course, my family who made big sacrifices to ensure I achieved my aspirations of representing Pakistan at a global stage.
“I am extremely fortunate, lucky and proud to have been considered worthy of donning the national kit with Pakistan emblem for 18 years. My country and my team have always been at my forefront and therefore, every time I stepped on to the field, I tried to raise their profile and image by playing hard and tough but within the rich traditions of the spirit of cricket.
“When you have a professional career as long as mine, you’re bound to have your share of highs and lows, and I was no different. Results apart, I can say with conviction that I had more highs as I had the privilege of playing with and against some of the finest exponents of the bat and the ball of my era.
“While cricket has been a great learning school for me, this great sport has provided me opportunities to visit various countries, explore their cultures and make friends. These are lifelong memories, which I will cherish every day. I want to thank my fans and supporters for believing in my abilities and backing me throughout my career.
Answering a question, the veteran all rounder said the most memorable day of life was when he represented Pakistan at international level and another memorable moment was being a part of the National team which beat India in the World Cup T20 in UAE last year.
41-year-old Hafeez made his Test debut against Bangladesh in Karachi on August 20, 2003.
Hafeez who served Pakistan cricket in different formats of the game in his 18-year-long career, he was still fit enough and in good form and he has take the decision to call it a day after a thorough consideration.
The right-handed batter played his final ODI match last year in July at Lord’s against Bangladesh.
PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja while praising the services of outgoing test cricketer said : “Hafeez has been a wholehearted cricketer who worked tirelessly at his game to have a long and fruitful career.
“His game evolved with time, adjusting to different formats quite intelligently. Later in his career, he became a T20 specialist, where he was never out of touch with modern demands of this testing format. His batsmanship took a sprightly turn, nailing sixes almost at will.
“He has worn the green blazer with pride for which we at the PCB are thankful. I wish him best of luck for his future life and thank him again for his magnificent contribution to Pakistan cricket.”