KARACHI (Cricinfo): Mohammad Hafeez is playing in the ongoing Dhaka Premier League in Bangladesh for his “own enjoyment and passion” and to “inspire youngsters”, but he will have a big job to do at his team, Mohammedan Sporting, too, as they are without some of the top international players, who are on tour in South Africa.
“I am playing for my own enjoyment and passion, and to inspire and help youngsters around the world,” Hafeez, Player of the Match in the PSL final last month, said. “My motivation is to enjoy the cricket. I am retired from international cricket but, personally, I still have something in me to give to cricket. I try to inspire the youngsters, so that they can learn from me. I always try to be helpful to everyone, whoever wants me in their game.
“I didn’t play ODIs in the last couple of years, but I believe I can do well in this format. I try to hit the same fitness levels every day that is required at the international level. Mohammedan were very welcoming, they were kind in handling lots of things.”
Hafeez’s heroics helped Lahore Qalandars lift the PSL trophy for the first time this season, and he is now with a team that is looking for their first DPL title since 2009-10. And they are missing Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Mehidy Hassan Miraz, Taskin Ahmed and Abu Jayed, who are all in South Africa.
“Some of the teams will miss their best players,” Hafeez said. “They are on the tour. It is a good opportunity for the youngsters to show their talent. We are very confident that we will do well as a team. We have some international experience like Soumya Sarkar. It will be good to be part of Mohammedan club.”
Hafeez said, half-jokingly, that he became more excited about playing in the DPL when he was told that there wouldn’t be ant biobubbles. “It was one of the reasons I signed the contract,” he said. “I asked him [a team official] if there’s a biobubble, he said, ‘no’. I said, ‘I am coming’. I wanted to be a part of this beautiful Muslim culture. I want to move around freely, enjoy my stay, enjoy the cricket. Biobubble gets on you mentally. In this league, everyone will enjoy a little bit extra.
“We all are human. We spent two-and-a-half months in England, without our family. It can break you mentally. You don’t feel like a human being staying in a controlled environment. Everyone needs a bit of freedom, so now we all know how to live a life in Covid.” Hafeez admitted that he would be interested in a role in Pakistan cricket in the future, but doesn’t want to hurry into anything: “At the moment, I am enjoying my cricket, giving time to my family members. I am not a job-seeker.
If I can add value in any system, I will definitely opt for it.”
Hafeez has also kept an eye on the ongoing Tests in Pakistan and said that Australia had showed more intent than the home team in the series so far. At the start of the fifth day of the second Test in Karachi, Pakistan were 192 for 2 and needed another 314 runs to win, after the first game in Rawalpindi ended in a high-scoring draw on a “below-average”pitch.
“You need to be result-oriented,” Hafeez said. “No one wants to watch drawn Tests. The fans basically want results, which is why Super Over has been inducted in T20s. Draws aren’t the best way to move forward.
“We all want Test cricket to be the No. 1 format of international cricket. I don’t mind assistance to seamers or spinners, but there should be a result. I am a fan of Test cricket, so it feels more when you know on the first day it is going to be a draw. There’s no excitement then. Intent wasn’t good, but so far Australians are showing a little bit more intent to win the game and the series.”