- Mohammad Hafeez emphasized playing domestic cricket.
- He also showed concern about players moving away from Test cricket.
- Pakistan will leave for Australia on November 30 for a 3-match Test series.
Mohammad Hafeez, Pakistan’s recently appointed team director, has emphasized that players should represent their country and play local cricket before participating in international leagues.
All-rounder Imad Wasim recently decided not to play in the Pakistan Cup or the current National Twenty20 because he wanted to play in the Abu Dhabi T10, which begins today.
Later on, he declared his retirement, citing that pacer Haris Rauf should have played in a domestic event rather than the Big Bash League (BBL) as he had not received a nod of approval.
Hafeez emphasized that measures would be taken to preserve Pakistani cricket and that the management wanted players to understand the value of red-ball cricket.
“We need to prioritize representing Pakistan. We also need to bring playing domestic cricket in Pakistan to the top of our priorities. Red-ball cricket is the most important cricket, but we’re seeing many players in Pakistan are moving away from or don’t want to play red-ball cricket,” Hafeez said in a press conference ahead of departing for the Australia Test series.
“To bring focus back, we’re going to take some measures. Perhaps some people will feel they’re a little harsh, but this is important to save Pakistan cricket,” he added.
“Until we aren’t playing red-ball cricket well, we can’t play any cricket. Long-form cricket polishes your basics, and our strategy is that we will promote players who play red-ball cricket and give them maximum opportunities. If someone has moved away from this path, we need to bring them back to improve their game,” Hafeez maintained.
Renowned “Professor” Hafeez stated that PCB will shortly release the NOC policy, taking into account the workloads of players.
“When you’re offered a central contract, the FTP of all three formats is kept in mind, and players getting central contracts should be available for Pakistan. We have leagues as well, but we saw a lot of talk in the World Cup that players were fatigued due to heavy workloads.”
“We have the T20 World Cup in mind going forward, and the NOC policy will keep Pakistan’s priorities in mind. If we want fit players, we need to manage workloads,” he maintained.
Hafeez, in the meantime, lavished admiration on Babar Azam for his contributions to Pakistani cricket.
“As a batter, Babar Azam has immense contributions for Pakistan. Not being captain will release pressure from him. Captaincy definitely adds pressure onto a cricketer, and if someone denies that, they are wrong,” he added.
“With that pressure eased, I think Babar’s performance will get even better. He has already been making excellent contributions for Pakistan cricket, and I think he will further enhance his performance to help Pakistan achieve success,” he concluded.
It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan will leave for Australia on Nov 30 for a 3-match Test series, which will also be a part of the ICC World Test Championship.
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