We are all behind Rizwan and wish he plays more, Sarfaraz tells Hafeez in Twitter spat

Published February 13, 2021
Former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, team veteran Mohammad Hafeez and other cricketers leave the field at end of play during the 2019 Cricket World Cup group stage match between West Indies and Pakistan at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, central England on May 31, 2019. — AFP
Former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, team veteran Mohammad Hafeez and other cricketers leave the field at end of play during the 2019 Cricket World Cup group stage match between West Indies and Pakistan at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, central England on May 31, 2019. — AFP

Former Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed on Saturday retorted to an apparent sub-tweet by veteran allrounder Mohammad Hafeez, saying that every cricketer who represents the national side "is number one for Pakistan".

Sarfaraz was responding to a tweet by Hafeez, where the latter had lauded Mohammad Rizwan for his maiden Twenty20 century and said: "Wonder how long you need to prove that you are NO1 wicketkeeper/Batsman in Pakistan in all formats of the game. Just asking."

Hafeez had posted the tweet on Thursday after Rizwan scored a century in the T20 match between Pakistan and South Africa, contributing to the former's victory. He became only the second Pakistani player to have scored a century in all three formats of the game.

Responding to Hafeez's tweet early on Saturday, Sarfaraz, who was Pakistan's first-choice wicketkeeper before Rizwan and was also captaining the side until he was dropped due to a lull in performance and questions over fitness, named Pakistan's wicketkeepers over the years (including Rizwan) but himself, saying that they were all number one for the country.

"Hafeez bhai sb, whoever has played for Pakistan from Imtiaz Ahmed, Wasim Bari, Tasleem Arif to Saleem Yousuf and from Moin Khan, Rashid Latif to Kamran Akmal and even Rizwan right now has always been number ONE for the country and have been respected accordingly."

He went on to extend support to Rizwan and said: "We are all behind Rizwan and wish that he plays many more amazing innings for our beloved country."

The former captain added that "even in future, whoever gets a chance [to play for the team] will be number one for Pakistan. We expect nothing but positiveness (sic) coming from an international player who has played so many games for Pakistan. #JustSaying."

Soon fast-bowler Mohammad Amir joined in, recalling that it was under Sarfaraz's captaincy that Pakistan remained the top T20 team for two years and won the Champions' Trophy in 2017.

Later in the day, Hafeez posted yet another tweet without naming anyone, saying, "Shallow minded approach EXPOSED!"

Not the first time

This is not the first time Hafeez has triggered responses from fellow cricketers. In December 2020, in response to Amir's announcement that he was retiring from cricket, Hafeez said: "I don't want to talk about his, frankly. It is a personal decision and I feel that personal decisions should be respected.

"If someone does not want [to] represent Pakistan, it's their choice."

Amir responded to Hafeez's statement, which the latter had made in a TV programme, and said: "You are wrong brother. I never said I don't want to represent Pakistan, I said I can't play for Pakistan with this management. You [are] doing good for Pakistan right now so enjoy that."

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