Muhammad Hafeez vows to regain his lost status
Pakistan opening batsman Muhammad Hafeez on Saturday vowed he will regain his lost status when his 12-month ban ends next month.
The former all-rounder, who has bagged 52 wickets in Tests with his off-spin, has requested the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to forward his case to the International Cricket Council (ICC) so his bowling action can be examined again once the ban is over.
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“I want to bowl as soon as possible,” he told cricket.com.au. “I was the number one all-rounder in ICC Rankings and I want to achieve it again. Very soon you will see me bowling.”
While in England, Hafeez has the option of applying for his bowling action analysis in two of UK’s ICC accredited labs in Cardiff and Loughborough.
“I have not given up as an all-rounder [and] I was working very hard on my bowling action,” he said. “But I could not practice in the last three months due to a knee injury. Now that I am recovering and reaching full fitness I will start practice again and increase the repetitions.”
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Hafeez was reported last year when Pakistan beat Sri Lanka in the second Test in Galle. The bowler was found exceeding the 15 degree limit for a second time in two years and hence banned for a 12-month period.
The 35-year-old, meanwhile, also disagreed with people who believe that he cannot survive in Test cricket without his bowling.
“People [have] put a question mark on my career, they thought I wouldn’t find a place in team as a batsman,” he said. “But my performance in the last year is in front of you. I know that my absence as a bowler has affected our bowling combination, that’s why I am working hard to be back as an all-rounder.”
The Inzamam factor
Hafeez has participated in three five-day outings for Pakistan since the ban was enforced and has averaged 63.33 with a 151-run man-of-the-match innings against England at Sharjah. In 12 ODIs, since the ban was placed on his bowling, he has averaged 46.63; however, he cherished his Test innings more than any other.
“I rate that innings in Sharjah as my career’s best performance because it was done in a very challenging situation,” he said. “It is the situation that makes your performance even bigger. The series was at stake… the series that we won 2-0 could have been drawn 1-1.”
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“England were bowling so well. Never before I had seen or played that much reverse swing that was on display in Sharjah, but we tackled the difficulties and won the match,” he said.
The Professor, as his teammates call him, is also optimistic that Pakistan can comeback with a series win as they have the ability to perform well in all conditions.
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“Pakistan has a very strong team in Tests. We’ve produced excellent results in all conditions [recently]. I’m very confident our team will do well in England. We as a team have ability to win the series,” he said.