How can any side with the services of an experienced player like Mohammad Hafeez at their disposal not do well in any major competition? This is exactly the reason that the Pakistan think-tank would have in mind when selecting the 38-year-old all-rounder for what is more than likely his last hurrah in the 50-over ICC World Cup.
A veteran of 208 ODIs where he has amassed 6302 runs and more importantly taken 137 wickets is likely to be one of the key components of this mercurial Pakistan side. He has remained a faithful servant of Pakistan cricket since his international debut in April 2003 but along the way has had to face the ignominy of bans due to a suspect bowling action.
All that is now in the past as Hafeez is batting and bowling with the same intensity that had brought him, and his country glory many times before. “The Professor” as he is popularly referred to for his ability to out-think his opponents and advise teammates is fit and ready to do battle for the biggest prize in international One-Day cricket. After a glorious spell in the Champions Trophy in 2017, he was dropped for the Asia Cup in September last year but came back into the side for series against New Zealand. He suffered a minor setback as captain of Lahore Qalandars after a hand injury but his determination to represent his country at the World Cup has brought him back into the reckoning.
With a young and inexperienced side looking to emulate the performance of their current Prime Minister Imran Khan’s team of 1992, a lot will depend on the maturity and game sense of Hafeez to help them navigate through what could be a tough World Cup campaign. The experience that Hafeez brings to the marquee tournament will be crucial for Pakistan and The Professor could well be the guiding light that leads the Men in Green to victory at Lord’s this summer.
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