"Why can't I play the same shot on 95?"- Mohammad Hafeez doubles down on 'selfish' remarks for Virat Kohli's 100 vs SA in 2023 World Cup

India v South Africa - ICC Men
India v South Africa - ICC Men's Cricket World Cup India 2023 [Getty Images]

Former Pakistan batter Mohammad Hafeez doubled down on his take of Virat Kohli intentionally slowing down to complete his century against South Africa in the 2023 ODI World Cup. Kohli was on 97 off 115 deliveries with the team at 293/5 in the 47th over but took another four balls to complete his ton in the 49th over of the Indian innings.

Hafeez criticized Kohli post-game for being "selfish." His comments led to backlash from fans and other former cricketers, including Michael Vaughan. Yet, in a recent conversation with Vaughan and Adam Gilchrist on the Club Prairie Fire Podcast, Hafeez doubled down on his take and said:

"No matter who is batting, your intention and way of playing should always be towards winning the game. But if someone is stopping himself not to play big shots in the 90s, I will never take it. After 95, if someone is taking five balls to get to his hundred and not thinking of hitting off those 3 or 4 balls, and if the intention gets changed after scoring a 100, why can't I play the same shot on 95? So in that game (South Africa), Virat took a lot of balls to get to his 100 and he was not playing big shots," said Hafeez.

He added:

"Personal milestones should go away from cricket, they mean nothing if it is not on a winning cause because in the game of cricket, even one run can matter. If someone can play a shot after scoring a century but cannot play the same shot in the 90s, it doesn't sit right with me as a fan of the game. Whether it's the first ball or you are on 99, you must play according to the game situation."

It was Kohli's 49th ODI century, drawing him level with the legendary Sachin Tendulkar for the most tons in ODI history. Despite Hafeez's remarks, Kohli's century helped India reach a massive 326/5 and register a 243-run victory over South Africa.

"He was not happy that India won the game but was unhappy because he couldn't get his own hundred" - Mohammad Hafeez on KL Rahul

India v Australia - ICC Men's Cricket World Cup India 2023 [Getty Images]
India v Australia - ICC Men's Cricket World Cup India 2023 [Getty Images]

Mohammad Hafeez accused KL Rahul of being similarly selfish during Team India's win in their opening game of the 2023 ODI World Cup against Australia. Rahul was batting on 91 with India needing only five runs to win off nine overs.

After a dot delivery off the first ball of the 42nd over, the stylish batter tried to reach his century with a boundary followed by a maximum. However, Rahul's sublime drive over extra cover travelled for a six, thanks to incredible timing, leaving him stranded on 97* as India won the game.

He was immediately on his haunches after hitting the winning run, suggesting his angst at missing out on a century.

"I remember in the same tournament, KL Rahul played a fantastic shot over extra cover to finish the game off (vs Australia) and he was not happy that India won the game but was unhappy because he couldn't get his own hundred. This is a selfish approach and then the same happened when Virat Kohli did the same thing when he was more into his 100 than adding value to the team (vs South Africa)," said Hafeez.

Kohli completed his 50th ODI century later in the tournament in the semi-final against New Zealand. However, the Men in Blue ultimately fell short of their goal, suffering a heartbreaking defeat to Australia in the final.

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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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