Pakistan's veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez announced his retirement from international cricket on Monday, January 3. However, former cricketer Shahid Afridi believes the seasoned campaigner could still have had the desire to continue playing at the highest level.
Speaking about the same on Samaa TV, Afridi pointed out that based on Hafeez's body language, he felt like he still had the desire to represent the national side.
He speculated that a communication gap with the Pakistan Cricket Board could have forced the 41-year-old to hang his boots.
Shahid Afridi said:
"I was listening to his [Mohammad Hafeez] statement, and it was clear from the body language that he wanted to play more cricket for Pakistan rather than leaving early.
"I always talk about the communication gap between the PCB and players and I have a strong feeling that the same was the case with Hafeez. Although, it was good to see that he didn’t turn that into a major issue."
Afridi commended Hafeez for his stellar career as he noted the all-rounder's significant contribution to the success of the Pakistan team.
"I would like to congratulate Hafeez, his family and parents. Hafeez had an outstanding career and he gave many match-winning performances," the former Pakistan skipper added.
In his 18-year career, Hafeez made a significant impact across formats, both with bat and ball. He has 12,780 runs to his name in international cricket along with 253 wickets.
"Today I say good-bye to international cricket with pride and satisfaction" - Mohammad Hafeez
Mohammad Hafeez mentioned in his statement that he had achieved more than what he had expected in his career. He also thanked his team members, PCB and the team's support staff along with his family.
While the champion cricketer has drawn curtains on his international career, he will continue playing in franchise-based T20 leagues. Here's what he was quoted as saying in a release by the PCB:
"Today I say good-bye to international cricket with pride and satisfaction. In fact, I have earned and accomplished more than I had initially envisaged and for that, I am thankful to all my fellow cricketers, captains, support staff and the Pakistan Cricket Board who helped me out during my career.
"And, of course, my family who made big sacrifices to ensure I achieved my aspirations of representing Pakistan at a global stage."
"When you have a professional career as long as mine, you’re bound to have your share of highs and lows, and I was no different. Results apart, I can say with conviction that I had more highs as I had the privilege of playing with and against some of the finest exponents of the bat and the ball of my era."
Hafeez's last appearance in Pakistani colors came at the T20 World Cup 2021 in the UAE. He featured in six matches for his side, in which he mustered 85 runs.
Hafeez also had a solitary wicket to his name in the latest edition of the multi-nation competition.