Mohammad Hafeez retires from international cricket

The 41-year-old has signed with Pakistan Super League franchise Lahore Qalandars for the upcoming edition of the league and will remain available for them.

PRATYAY TIWARI

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Published - Jan 03, 2022, 11:18 IST | Updated - Jan 03, 2022, 15:57 IST

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Pakistan’s Mohammad Hafeez has announced his retirement from international cricket, bringing to close a stellar career that lasted nearly two decades. He, however, will continue playing T20 franchise cricket.

Hafeez, who made his international debut in an ODI against Zimbabwe in 2003, played his last game for the country in 2021 during the T20 World Cup, where Pakistan’s journey was halted by Australia in the semi-final after they won all five Super12 fixtures on the trot.

He scored 3652 runs at 37.64 in 55 Tests, 6614 at 32.90 in 218 ODIs and 2514 at 26.46 in 119 T20Is for Pakistan, while a more than capable off-spinner, he claimed 53, 139 and 61 wickets in the three formats, respectively.

“Today I want to officially retire from the beautiful journey I started 18 years ago with Pakistan cricket,” Hafeez said at a press conference in Lahore. “I represented Pakistan with great pride, and whatever I have played throughout my 18 years, I played with dignity. And whether it’s on the field or off the field, I tried to raise Pakistan’s flag high. I am very happy and satisfied with my career and achievements, which were all for Pakistan. So this is it for me.”

He announced Test retirement in 2018 during the New Zealand series in the UAE, with the third game of the series in Abu Dhabi being his last in the longest format. Hafeez continued in the limited-overs format but fell out of selectors’ radar from the ODIs upon the conclusion of the 2019 ODI World Cup in England, with the Bangladesh fixture at Lord’s turning out to be his final ODI.

I can say with conviction that I had more highs than lows: Mohammad Hafeez

He had expressed his desire to bow out of all international cricket after the 2020 T20 World Cup but with Covid-19 pushing the tournament into the next year, he delayed those plans. Hafeez has been a part of each Pakistan T20 World Cup squad bar one in 2009, which the team won. He led the team during their semi-final finish in the 2012 edition and also 2014 when Pakistan had to endure a group-stage exit.

Hafeez led Pakistan in two ODIs against Australia in 2017, winning and losing one each, while his T20I captaincy record stood at 18 wins and 11 losses in 29 games. His only Test as captain was at the Galle International Stadium against Sri Lanka in 2012, which Pakistan lost by 209 runs.

“When you have a professional career as long as mine, you’re bound to have your share of highs and lows, and it was no different for me,” he said. “Results apart, I can say with conviction that I had more highs than lows, since 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 for standing beside me understanding my lean patch, cherishing my success.”

The 41-year-old has signed with Pakistan Super League franchise Lahore Qalandars for the upcoming edition of the league and will remain available for them. He was last active during the recently-concluded Lanka Premier League’s second edition in Sri Lanka with the Galle Gladiators, where he scored 89 runs in eight innings and scalped five wickets.