Hafeez silences critics by ending 2020 as top run-scorer in T20 internationals
Veteran Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez silenced his detractors on Tuesday after he overtook K. L. Rahul to become the highest run-scorer in calendar year 2020 in Twenty20 internationals.
Hafeez, who scored a quick 29-ball 41 in Pakistan's morale booster win in the third T20I against New Zealand on Tuesday, bagged 415 runs in the outgoing year, the most by any player.
According to ESPNCricinfo, Hafeez scored 415 runs in 8 innings in 2020, followed by India's K. L. Rahul (404 runs in 10 innings) and England's Dawid Malan (397 runs in 10 innings).
Hafeez is also now the joint-highest T20I run-getter for Pakistan ever. He and experienced all-rounder Shoaib Malik have both amassed 2,323 runs to date, but Malik reached the score in 115 matches, while Hafeez reached the same milestone in 99 matches, the PCB said in a tweet.
Filled with gratitude over his remarkable figures, 40-year-old Hafeez, who is popularly known as ‘Professor’, tweeted: "Alhamdulillah. Allah is the best planner."
Earlier this year, Hafeez had hit back at his critics who had questioned the former Pakistan captain’s inclusion in the squad for the August-September tour of England, saying he would retire on his own terms.
“This kind of reaction (criticism) has always been part of my cricketing life from the day I made international debut in 2003. Now 17 years on, nothing has changed probably because I came from a relatively small city like Sargodha,” Hafeez said at the time. “And each time I performed to the best of my abilities to prove the critics wrong. Criticism, whether fair or otherwise, made me doubly determined to perform. If anyone says I shouldn’t be playing [for Pakistan] that is their personal opinion."
His statement had come after former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja advised Hafeez and fellow senior player Shoaib Malik to take retirement from international cricket.
“They should leave international cricket with respect and gracefully,” ex-opener Raja had said in April.
Both Hafeez and Malik were recalled to the Pakistan team for the T20 format in February after remaining on the sidelines since last year’s World Cup in England.
The decision by head coach and then-chief selector Misbahul Haq to recall them met with mixed reactions and many criticised the move to go back to senior players in the shorter format.
Hafeez had said he would retire from all international cricket after the 2020 ICC Twenty20 World Cup and pledged to end his career on a positive note. The T20 World Cup was postponed until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.