The ongoing Test between Pakistan and New Zealand at Abu Dhabi will be Mohammad Hafeez’s last match of the format as the 38-year-old wants to focus his energies on white-ball cricket ahead of the 2019 World Cup, reports Cricbuzz.
The all-rounder announced his decision to part ways with Test cricket at the end of the second day’s play.
Hafeez returned to the Test side in October, after a gap of more than two years, with a century against Australia in Dubai. But, he failed to capitalise on the beginning and scored only 60 runs in the next five innings. He has also been wicketless in the series against New Zealand. Hours before the announcement, Hafeez registered a four-ball duck as he was caught in slips off Trent Boult in the second over of Pakistan innings.
But, it is not the dip in his batting form that extended into the retirement, said Hafeez as he spoke to the reporters. “To be honest, it was a tough decision and I was thinking about it for the last couple of weeks. But, I think this is the best time for me to exit from Test cricket and put all my efforts in white ball cricket where I feel I can offer more to Pakistan cricket moving forward.
Hafeez made his Test debut against Bangladesh in Karachi in 2003. In his 55-match-long career.
, the right-handed opener accumulated 3,638 runs thus far at an average of 38.29, scoring 10 centuries and 12 fifties. His off-spin accounted for 53 wickets at 34.05 runs apiece. But, it was his economy of 2.66 and his ability to regularly strike against the left-handed batsmen that made him a vital cog in Pakistan’s bowling unit. However, constant bans, due to suspect action, never allowed him to flourish as a bowler.
Hafeez pondered complete retirement from international cricket in August after he was was pushed down in Pakistan’s central contract list. But, his wife and former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar talked him out of it as Hafeez would reveal later.
He was axed from the Asia Cup squad as Inzamam ul Haq, chairman of the national selection committee, wanted to give other players a chance. Hafeez went back to domestic cricket and mounted pressures on the selectors with his performances with both bat and ball. His double-century for Sui Northern Gas Pipelines, which is currently playing the final against Habib Bank Limited of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, in the initial rounds of the tournament pressed his case for a national return.
Pakistan find themselves in a precarious as they are trailing by 135 runs at Stumps after the second day’s play. With the pitch becoming spin-conducive and Pakistan next innings, the fourth of the match, expected to be in the last sessions, Hafeez has a daunting task ahead.