Hafeez becomes Afridi’s go-to man
GROS ISLET, Saint Lucia: Mohammad Hafeez said he has drawn on the confidence placed in him by Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, particularly when he been given a chance to bowl in recent matches.
Hafeez was speaking after he earned the Man-of-the-Match award in the first One-day International against West Indies, which Pakistan won by eight wickets on Saturday at the Beausejour Cricket Ground.
He took one for 36 from his allotted 10 overs, and played his part, along with Afridi and Saeed Ajmal, in strangling the scoring of the West Indies batsmen, as the home team struggled to 220 for six from their 50 overs, after choosing to bat.
“I think Shahid has been using me well in matches,” said Hafeez.
“Whenever he thinks there is a chance for me to exploit the conditions, he gives me the ball.
“Whenever I get a chance to bowl I try to restrict the batsmen, and I am getting wickets with that. I am always happy for the team when I bowl.”
Hafeez then opening the batting pummelled seven fours and one six in 54 from 45 deliveries to give Pakistan a flying start in their run chase.
“I have been batting more consistently because of the hard work I have been doing in practice sessions with the coaches,” he said.
“Right now, the advice that they have been giving is working out for me.
“All I want to do is continue this form for Pakistan, and I am very happy to contribute to the team’s performance, which is required in the remaining matches for us to be able to win the series.”
His hard work has caught the eye of Afridi, who hailed the way he has been playing in recent times.
“I’m very confident with the way Hafeez is contributing in the team,” said the Pakistan captain.
“I think he is a real team man, and he’s doing a great job with the ball and the bat.”
The third ODI will be played on Monday at the same ground.