Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez has revealed that he had suggested to Shoaib Malik that the veteran all-rounder should also retire with him. Terming Malik a friend and a brother, Hafeez added that he told the former he wouldn’t get the respect he deserves.
Hafeez, 41, announced his retirement from international cricket at the start of the year. While Malik has quit Tests and ODI, he was hopeful of making a comeback for the T20 World Cup 2022. The selectors, however, did not pick him in the 15-member squad announced recently.
Opening up about his bonding with Malik, Hafeez explained why he had urged the former to announce his retirement. In an interview with Cricket Pakistan, he said:
“I think Malik has misunderstood the current scenario. As a brother and a friend, I had requested him when I announced my retirement that he should also retire. I told him I felt he wouldn’t get the respect he deserves. It was evident in my case as well. My understanding was that he wanted one last hurrah, but cricket is cruel like this.”
Reacting to his snub, Malik put out a tweet highlighting friendships, liking and disliking in the team. As per reports, he is unlikely to get a farewell game following the social media post.
“If he was picked, it would have been a win-win situation” - Hafeez on Malik's exclusion from T20 World Cup squad
Asked if he felt Malik should have been picked in Pakistan’s team for the T20 World Cup, Hafeez replied that the all-rounder’s presence could have benefited the team. He opined:
“I feel if he was picked, it would have been a win-win situation in both ways. Pakistan would have got a fit, senior player with a lot of international experience. People are saying he can’t play the cut or pull. Don't forget that he played cricket for 22 years, so he didn't play these shots?.
"We need to understand; we need proper cricketers with whom we can form a winning combination. Doesn't matter whether they are 40 or 20.”
Hafeez also recalled an incident from the 2019 World Cup when Malik was not given a farewell game even though he was about to retire from ODI cricket. The 41-year-old said:
“I felt bad when he was not given a farewell ODI in 2019. We were playing Bangladesh at Lord’s, and there was no qualification at stake. He should have been played, but the management that time did not do it.”
Malik (40) last represented Pakistan in a match against Bangladesh in Mirpur in November 2021. In 124 T20Is, he has scored 2435 runs at a strike rate of 125.64. He has also claimed 28 wickets with his off-spin.