Veteran cricketer says he was ready to quit the sport until his wife persuaded him he still had a role to play
Veteran Pakistan star Mohammad Hafeez celebrated his recall with a century in the first Test against Australia on Sunday and revealed his wife had persuaded him not to quit the sport.
Hafeez, 37, capped his return to the Test team after a gap of two years with a brilliant 126, helping his team to 255-3 on the first day of the opening match in Dubai.
Hafeez had decided to announce his retirement from cricket but wife Nazia and former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar stepped in to persuade him he still had a role to play. “I was mentally disturbed after being dropped from the Asia Cup team,” said Hafeez of last month’s axing from the one-day side. “I could have taken a drastic step but I was stopped by my wife and then Shoaib Akhtar phoned me as well.”
Hafeez, who also did not play in any of the five one-day internationals in Zimbabwe in July despite being in the squad, hailed his teammates. “I could have been doing something else [had I retired],” said Hafeez after putting on a solid 205-run opening stand with Imam-ul-Haq who made a career best 76. “But probably this was the place where I had to stage a comeback. When I came back in the team all the players welcomed me and gave me confidence and that increased my inner energy.”
Hafeez was dropped from the Test side after faring poorly in the first three matches of Pakistan’s series in England two years ago. “I am very happy after this hundred. I tried my level best in the last couple of years to get back into this format and I am so happy to get a chance after a long time. I had no fear at all. I really backed myself and I knew that whenever it is the right time I will perform.”