• ‘Drastic’ Hafeez: I was very disturbed

    Former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar convinced Pakistan batsman Mohammad Hafeez not to retire from international cricket, yet.

    Hafeez considered ending a 15-year international career after being downgraded in Pakistan’s central contract list, but was a late addition to the Test squad for this month’s Test series against Australia in the United Arab Emirates.

    Hafeez obliged the recall with a 10th Test century at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday, as Pakistan pushed to 255 for three.

    ‘I had a few problems in the last few months. I could have taken some steps, drastic, but I was stopped from taking them. I could have taken them, my wife stopped me. Shoaib Akhtar specially called me and at that time I was thinking of drastic steps as I was very disturbed,’ he said.

    ‘I think Allah is the best planner and he planned good things for me. I could have been something else this time. I probably think this is the place where I had to stage a comeback. When I came back in the team all the players welcomed me and gave me confidence, and that increased my inner energy so I am very happy at the comeback.

    ‘Your critics challenge you, and they wait for your bad performances and highlight them. That challenges you and it brings the best out of you. That has worked for me and Allah has helped me. I always want to play positive and leave behind all such things.’

    Prior to last week’s recall, Hafeez maintained match fitness and form for Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited in Pakistan first-class and List A competition.

    ‘I was announced as 18th member by the management later on. I was playing domestic cricket and scoring runs, so I was expecting a recall. I was in a positive frame of mind that I am going back into the team and that I will perform,’ he added.

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    Jonhenry Wilson