Mohammad Hafeez was involved with the Pakistani cricket team for quite a while before he finally realized that his bones are giving in and his performances are starting to dip. Ideally, after a prolonged slump, he called it a day, realising that Pakistan’s management won’t be kind to him if the numbers don’t go up.
However, his love for the Indian captains were always on the higher side and he believed that MS Dhoni and Kohli obviously pulled off the stunts those were required to help India lift the all-important titles, thereby heaping praises on themselves, but he eventually reserved the ultimate praise for Sourav Ganguly.
Talking on his appearances for the LLC, Hafeez said, “I was part of the first edition of LLC as well. I found it exciting and loved the concept very much. I had played only two matches back then and so I was looking forward to participating in it again.”
Here is what Mohammad Hafeez had to say about his former Indian friends
He also talked about his old friends adding, “I was really happy to watch and meet again some of my best friends, against whom we have played some great cricket – Harbhajan Singh, Gautam Gambhir – we spent a lot of good times together. LLC provided me that opportunity to meet them again. It doesn’t really matter who wins or loses on the ground, what matters is the legacy of the tournament.”
He also shed some light about his memorable moment in the Indo-Pakistan rivalry, adding, “Every India versus Pakistan match is a memorable one. Whether you lose or win, the experience of being part of the match is totally different. You are appreciated when you win the match and on losing, the fans passionately express their anger. But the one that I remember was that Bengaluru innings (scored 61 off 44 and was named Player of the Match) after which we had won – the T20I match in 2012. There was pin drop silence. I remember it vividly and I want to feel it again. Because when there is a India versus Pakistan game in India and we end up performing well, the packed-stadium becomes silent, I loved that the most.”
This is what Mohammad Hafeez had to say about the legacy of the Indian captaincy
Talking about the Indian captains, he said, “The foundation was laid in the Ganguly era, that is when that mindset was developed that they can beat the world. In Pakistan, to be very honest, that feel was there in the past. We did have a team who could go to any place in the world, look into the eyes of the opponent and play aggressive cricket. In India, that feel came only in the Ganguly era. A finer version of it was seen during Dhoni’s captaincy and that continued through the years making India one of the most favourite teams in any series or tournament.”
He eventually concluded by saying how Hardik Pandya gave them a scare, adding, “There was a very strong feeling in the dressing room after we beat Sri Lanka and tournament favourites England that we can get the better of any team in the world. So when we went up against India, there was that pressure, but we were also very sure and confident as a team of winning that match. But we also had a strategy. India were comfortable chasing between 280 to 300 and so we decided to break that. We gave a 339-run target to them. So that 40-runs of pressure that we put in their minds, that worked a lot. Everything combined – the performance of Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Amir – all fell in place for us. And when he dismissed Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma early, we knew we would win because had they performed India would have won. Yes Hardik Pandya performed really well, paatake ache jalaye, but it didn’t work for that day.”