If a batter faces 40-50 balls in a T20 and team doesn’t win, there is a problem: Mohammad Hafeez 

Mohammad Hafeez. Pic:Getty Images
Mohammad Hafeez. Pic:Getty Images

Veteran Pakistan batsman Mohammad Hafeez has opined that batters who face the majority of the balls in T20 matches should take the blame if the team doesn’t go past the winning line. Hafeez stated that it is unfair to criticize batters who face just 8-10 balls in a match.

Pakistan’s middle-order in limited-overs matches has been heavily criticized for failing to deliver. However, according to Hafeez, at least in the T20 format, the top 3-4 batsmen have a greater role to play in wins, especially if they face nearly half the balls.

In an interaction with Cricket Pakistan, Hafeez, while discussing Pakistan’s middle-order woes, explained:

“Significantly, in T20 cricket, if your opener, No. 3 and 4 bat 40-50 balls, it’s their responsibility to take the team to a par total from where they can win a match. If they are unable to do that, it is their mistake. We feel that if a player scores 50 in 40 balls, it is a really good innings. But it is not like that at all. If a batter faces 40-50 balls and the team doesn’t win, whether he is batting at the opening slot or at No. 6, that is where the problem lies. Any cricketer from any side, when he plays more balls, there is greater responsibility on him to win games for the team.”

While conceding that the Pakistan middle-order definitely needs to perform, he pointed out that players aren’t being given enough chances to secure their spots in the team. Hafeez explained:

“You are not allowing your middle-order to settled down at all. In the last year, at least 8-10 players have been in and out of the squad. We shouldn’t be doing this. If you are bringing someone on the basis of his success in domestic cricket, give him a fair chance to prove himself.”
“Even if a middle-order batsman gets 10 balls to play, we start pointing out at his average. We need to actually judge him on the kind of intent he showed during those few balls. How much efforts he has taken to try and win the match for the team. We blame those who have faced only 4-7 balls,” he lamented.

In T20 cricket, intent plays the most important role: Mohammad Hafeez

40-year-old Hafeez has featured in 113 T20Is for Pakistan and has scored 2429 runs at a strike rate of 120.96. Being a highly experienced performer in the format, he stated that, in T20Is, intent matters more than anything else. Hafeez said:

“I feel in T20 cricket, intent plays the most important role. It cannot be a case where two players play with one intent and the others with a different intent. The entire team needs to follow one process and have the same intent for a T20 game.”
“In T20 cricket, your failures will come to the fore. But both the management and players must absorb it. If you are playing a role for the team and your intent is to do what the team requires, they such players must be backed,” he concluded.

Pakistan are currently taking on West Indies in a two-match Test series. Earlier, they defeated the Windies 1-0 in the four-match T20I series after three of the four games did not produce any results.

Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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