Pakistan’s veteran batsman Mohammad Hafeez has decided to call it quits from Test cricket following another failure with the bat on the second day of the series-deciding third Test against New Zealand at the Shaikh Zayed Stadium yesterday.
Their innings was, however, held together by Azhar Ali with an unbeaten knock of 62 as Pakistan ended the day at 139 for three in 61 overs, still trailing by 135 runs. Asad Safiq was giving Azhar company on 26.
“I’m announcing my retirement from Test cricket and I’m really happy and proud to do that because I feel I really worked hard in the 15 years of my career. Thanks to Pakistan cricket for being with me at every step of my career,” said Hafeez, on whom the pressure was building up after a series of poor performance. In the last seven innings, he had managed only 66 runs.
The 38-year-old was out for a duck as soon as Pakistan started their first innings just before lunch after New Zealand’s innings folded at 274 in 116.1 overs.
Hafeez, who made his Test debut in 2003, has scored 3644 runs from 55 matches at an average of 37.95 including 10 centuries, said the decision will allow him to focus solely on white ball cricket.
“It was a tough decision and I was thinking about it in the last couple of weeks. I think this is the best time for me to exit from Test cricket and put all my time behind white ball cricket.
“I think I can offer more for Pakistan cricket that way, moving forward. This is very much my own decision and I have conveyed it to the Pakistan team management, board and teammates. But we kept it under wraps because I wanted to announce it only tonight,” said Hafeez, whose highest score of 224 came against Bangladesh in Khulna in 2015.
“To be honest, the journey that I started in 2003 till now, I have tried my level best in my humble capacity to maintain a standard. And I’m satisfied with my contribution to Pakistan’s Test cricket with my contribution,” said Hafeez, who was caught at slips by Tim Southee off Trent Boult’s first over with nothing on the board.