Ramiz Raja has criticized Mohammad Hafeez after his exclusion from Pakistan’s T20I squad for the South Africa series.
Mohammad Hafeez finished 2020 as Pakistan’s leading run-scorer in T20Is. However, the 40-year-old couldn’t finalize an agreement with the Pakistan Cricket Board regarding the date on which he should enter the squad’s bio-bubble, owing to his commitments with the Abu Dhabi T10 League.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Ramiz Raja criticised Mohammad Hafeez’s decision to favour the Abu Dhabi T10 League over national duty.
“Among those playing in T10 League, Asif Ali is coming but not Mohammad Hafeez because he doesn’t want to end his contract. This shows the level of thinking because considering the situation, we should be prepared to follow the necessary protocols even if there are last-minute changes."
Ramiz Raja claimed prioritizing T10 or T20 leagues of other countries over Pakistan isn’t right. He praised Haris Rauf’s decision to leave the Big Bash to join the Pakistan Test team, explaining cricketers should favour national commitments at a time when international cricket is returning to the country.
“International teams are now coming to Pakistan so it is imperative that everyone religiously follows Covid-19 protocols. If you look at Haris Rauf, he left Big Bash League to join Pakistan’s Test squad which shows what his priority is. If Pakistan is your priority then you are headed in the right direction.”
Referring to Mohammad Hafeez, Ramiz Raja slammed the former for his selfish nature.
“If you want to serve the leagues at the cost of selection for the Pakistan team, then you are certainly not on the right path. One should think about Pakistan instead of being selfish because nobody will back you."
What happened between Pakistan and Mohammad Hafeez?
Mohammad Hafeez and PCB have been in a deadlock over the date at which he should enter Pakistan’s bio-bubble for the South Africa series. Hafeez is currently playing for the Maratha Arabians in the Abu Dhabi T10 League, which will end on February 6.
According to ESPNcricinfo, he had written a mail to PCB last year, requesting permission to join the squad on February 5. However, the governing body didn’t accept the request, as they tried to convince Hafeez to enter the bio-bubble on February 3.
With both parties unwilling to budge, it ultimately led to Mohammad Hafeez’s exclusion from the three-match T20I series against South Africa. Speaking to the press after the squad announcement, chief selector Mohammad Wasim said that Mohammad Hafeez had made himself unavailable for selection.
“Unfortunately, the scenario is as such that every player has to join the bio-bubble on Feb 3, and if a player can't do so, it means he is unavailable,” Mohammad Wasim said.
Hafeez has thus far scored 2323 runs in 94 T20I innings for Pakistan at an average of 27.99.