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Hafeez defends beleaguered Afridi

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-Photo by AP

COLOMBO: Shahid Afridi’s insipid performance has been a letdown for Pakistan in the World Twenty20 but captain Mohammad Hafeez sprang to the besieged all-rounder’s support saying he gave his best in the tournament.

The former captain played a poor shot to be bowled out on the first delivery he faced against Rangana Herath with Pakistan struggling during their chase of 140 runs for a place in Sunday’s final.

The 2009 champions lost the first semi-final against hosts Sri Lanka by 16 runs on Thursday.

Afridi, who 16 years ago on the same day struck the fastest-ever century in 50-over cricket against the same opponents, took the prized wicket of Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene on Thursday but has been cold with both bat and ball in the tournament.

“He is a match winner; there is no doubt about his abilities. But I think... he is really in a bad form at the moment,” Hafeez told reporters when asked about the 32-year-old all-rounder’s performance.

The popular cricketer scored just 30 runs in five innings and took only four wickets with his leg-spin bowling in six matches.

“He’s really worked hard in the whole tournament, but unfortunately things didn’t work for him,” Hafeez said.

“I can understand as a captain, as a player, when things don’t work for you.

“But he is a character, he is always a hard-worker and I think he is trying to come out of it [which] is a positive sign for us as a team. So that’s the reason we have given him all the chances.”

Hafeez said he was proud of his team’s campaign, adding the hosts deserved to be in the final.

The defeat is the second successive exit at the semi-final stage of the World Twenty20 for Pakistan following their loss to Australia at the same stage of the 2010 event held in the West Indies.

Pakistan, among the pre-tournament favourites, finished runners-up to India in the inaugural event in 2007 in South Africa before winning the title in England two years later.

“We played positive cricket and I am proud of my team,” Hafeez said. “Sri Lanka deserved to win and they are worthy finalists on the basis of what they have done in this tournament.”

But the skipper admitted the target should have been well within his side’s reach. “The pitch was turning and it was difficult to score runs and we lost some wickets in the middle and couldn’t stage a comeback. We should have chased that down.”

The skipper said Pakistan’s weakness in chasing was a concern. “I would not say that we are bad chasers but, yes, it is a concern and we have to sort that out with some planning because it has become a problem.”—Agencies


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Comments (27) Closed



Satya
Oct 06, 2012 11:39am
I think he is reckless with bat. Choose him for his bowling only.
gunnudidi
Oct 06, 2012 11:42am
Afridi should retire
Ali Vaqar Awan
Oct 07, 2012 05:55pm
Its a time Afridi should anounce his retirement as his peformance is going down hill. He has done a lot for Pakistan in past but in present nothing special. Hafeez is not suitable to be Captain as lacks ability to analyze whats required to chase and set a target. Shoaib Malik definately deserves to be sacked as performance was not up to the mark. Also Pakistan was lacking good finishers and consolidation. The way Umer Gul is going he may hardly last a year or two.
KHAN
Oct 06, 2012 12:41pm
YOU ARE 100% RIGHT,GIVE HIM A BREAK.HE WILL COME BACK.
Harris
Oct 07, 2012 12:43pm
Well said my brother, I don't know why my fellow Pakistanis just can't take the defeat! Afridi is going through bad patch, period! Just 3 months ago he was taking wickets and you were loving him!
Sarabjeet (India)
Oct 07, 2012 07:25am
Why should Hafeez be sacked?? He made the team enter into semis courtesy his bold moves viz opening the bowling with Raza Hassan, etc etc. Shoaib Malik was the only batsmen that played well against India and Afridi is going through a bad patch. They just lost a couple of matches and panic stations start ringing!!!
Yasir
Oct 07, 2012 01:50am
Hafeez should not be captain for pakistan
Shajia Ahmed
Oct 07, 2012 02:18am
"He is a match winner; there is no doubt about his abilities. But I think
Dr Ahmad
Oct 07, 2012 04:30am
Hafeez, along with Afridi and Malik, must be sacked from all kinds of cricket
Khan
Oct 07, 2012 04:32am
Pakistan's failures to beat top sides like India and Sri Lanka and progress beyond Semis of World cups will continue as long as they keep playing "Over the hill" players like Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Sohail Tanveer, Kamran Akmal, and Imran Nazir at the expense of young talent like Junaid Khan, Hammad Azam, Asad Shafiq, Anwer Ali, and Ahmed Shehzad. PCB must now start planning for 2015 ODI world cup and develop young talent. Hafeez is not capable to be an opener in any form of the same as his record shows. Umar Gul has lost all pace and swing. Imran Nazir has been given countless chances, but failed to establish himself. Malik and Kamran are a huge liability for Pakistan as neither is consistent and have been given too many chances. Afridi has failed 90 % of the time as a batsmen, and he has cost Pakistan many many matches. It's high time to draw curtains over the career of thesed players. If Afridi and Co. had any self-respect they would immediately retire like Aussie legends of past have done. Unfortunately, our cricketers like our politicians are lacking in grace and self-respect. I hope PCB are listening?
The Saint
Oct 07, 2012 05:31am
blunder as a captain to keep giving someone chance until he takes you out of tournament and still talk about giving him more chances. are you sharing more than the room?
Mahbub
Oct 07, 2012 05:35am
It should be removed hafeez from captancy. he is not qualified for this. he should play Razzak in last match. coach also choice S Malik but it should not be. He is not a t20 Player. Mahbub , Sylhet , Bangladesh.
Abdul Malik
Oct 07, 2012 06:45am
Afridi has always been careless and reckless with the bat. It's high time he should call it a day and retire honourablly before he disgraces himself out of the game of cricket.
Hyder Ali
Oct 06, 2012 07:58pm
Salam, In all fairness Muhammad Hafiz does not command automatic selection in any format and he is appointed as a captain which shows that the cricket in Pakistan is managed by buffoons otherwise Shahid Afridi should have led Pakistan in this world cup as well. Pakistan had the highest success rate in Imran / Miandad era when Pakistan played 5 specialist batsmen, one batting allrounder, a specialist wicket keeper and 4 specialist bowlers. Now we have a host of inconsistent bits and pieces batsmen / bowlers like Hafiz, Malik, the Akmal brothers, Sohail Tanvir, Arafat and Imran Nazir then expecting team to win a tournament is day dreaming. Shahid Afridi should be reinstated as captain with the winning combination of 5 specialst batsmen, Shahid Afridi, a specialist wicket keeper and 4 specialist bowlers. Thereafter we will see Pakistani batsmen winning consistently against India and other top cricketing nations. Pakistan Zindabad. Hyder Ali
sja
Oct 06, 2012 09:34pm
Shahid Afridi knows that he has a lot of contracts for timet to come, that will enrich him, he could not enrich Pakistan cricket in Sri Lanka, it is all about performance, we will see who would continue sponsor with lots of money a POOR PERFORMER on the CREASE. That should be enough for a good DE----CREASE.
Muhammad Omer Khan
Oct 06, 2012 09:59pm
Attention, chasing is a problem for Pakistan.
MMS
Oct 06, 2012 11:23pm
If he was in bad form and you know it why in God's name did you allow him to play. You cannot keep play him on luck alone. If that is the way you choose your team then you should not captain. That means you reached the semi's on luck alone. He has to contribute with hard work and concentration. Sitting in the US I see him as a 'has been'. I am tired of the excuses that you the captain and the board are making to keep him on the team. He may be a good con artist that you keep being fooled by his excuses for his lack of performance. He was good, let him retire with his head held high or let him be remembered as a person who lost everything for Pakistan.
ali
Oct 06, 2012 03:13pm
agree with you hafeez.. wl played guys lov u
shabib
Oct 06, 2012 05:17pm
Arif
Oct 06, 2012 04:42pm
One great man defending another great man. This is nice to watch.
a khan
Oct 07, 2012 05:53pm
team needs an all rounder not just a spin bowler whose bowling losing variations. Afridi should announce retirement, it will be a good decision.
wes
Oct 06, 2012 07:54pm
32 year old all rounder...yeah sure..he does not look a day older than 40..
shadab
Oct 06, 2012 04:15pm
Mohammed Hafeez should resign as a captain. He is favoring and backing failed players like Shahed Afridi who got couple of golden duck. Beside this there should be no place for Shoeb Mallik and Imran Nazir who was afraid to play shots.
akhter husain
Oct 07, 2012 07:43am
Why are we so fond of sacking people?
Tanveer
Oct 07, 2012 07:54pm
it's about time we showed maturity,Hafeez is one of the best all rounders in 20/20 and 50 overs.He is perhaps the most miserly of bowlers in the game and he scores consistently.If Pakistan wins then the players are the" greatest" in the world...they lose they should be sacked,..as a nation we are really fickle minded.Just for the record Asad Shafiq is a Teat player not a 20/20..Afridi should be given time to regain form.
Ch.subba Rao
Oct 07, 2012 12:39pm
Afrdi is a big let down and he should be sacked immediately.
Khurram
Oct 07, 2012 10:36am
He bowls like a complete bowler and is the best leg spinner available to Pakistan. Why not credit him for his bowling?