Mohammad Hafeez defends himself after Azam Khan explodes over Pakistan Cricket's dual faced approach

Updated - 21 Feb 2024, 04:16 PM

Mohammad Hafeez and Azam Khan
Mohammad Hafeez and Azam Khan (Credits: Instagram)

Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez who was recently sacked from the team Director role by the Pakistan Cricket Board earlier this month explained the real reason why wicket-keeper batsman Azam Khan was dropped from their playing XI after the first 3 T20Is of a 5-match series in New Zealand last month which the visitors lost by 4-1. It was also Shaheen Afridi’s first instance of leading Pakistan in a bilateral series and it was a one to forget.

They had backed Azam Khan to keep the stumps and appear in the middle order from number 6. The batter who broke into the scene through his aggressive performances in the Pakistan Super League, could not make an impact whatsoever and was eventually dropped from the last two T20Is, having scored just 22 from the first three matches.

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“Nowadays social media comes after you”, Hafeez claims Pakistan didn’t want to deteriorate Azam Khan’s confidence

While speaking to A Sports recently, Mohammad Hafeez stated that Azam Khan was dropped from the final two T20Is for his own good as he was anyways experiencing a lean run of form. Hafeez claimed that if Azam had failed to produce a turnaround in those remaining matches then it would have shattered his self-confidence and also highlighted that fans on social media would have trolled him severely which could have further damaged the youngster’s morale.

Hafeez also said that he was left with no option but to drop Azam even if he wanted to give him some more playing time. But since he couldn’t match the expected standards, it was best that he sat out for the final two matches.

“We’ve given clarity to him that he is not going anywhere. Personally, I wanted to give him more matches, but after 3 matches, we thought that he’s not performing well enough so that his confidence wouldn’t shatter to the extent that he couldn’t make a comeback, because you know nowadays social media comes after you immediately after one or two performances.” – Hafeez said via A Sports.

Such has been Azam Khan’s short international career in which he has been picked based on promise and potential rather than match-winning performances. Since making his T20I debut in 2021 in England, the 25-year-old has played 7 matches after his debut and has only disappointed his father Moin Khan, Pakistani fans, and of course the Pakistan Cricket Board. The power hitter has scored only 1 six from 7 innings and only has 29 runs to his name with a highest of 10. That pretty much sums up his case.

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“He will get those 10 to 15 matches before the World Cup”, Hafeez on Azam’s T20 WC chances

Mohammad Hafeez did not make it obvious but he did indicate that Azam Khan could be in line to appear for Pakistan in the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup. Hafeez revealed that when he told Azam that he is being dropped, the 26-year-old was reassured that he would get his chances in the future and that there was no reason to worry.

The former team director stated that the management had thought of giving him a long rope until the World Cup and that Azam will get his chances when New Zealand arrive for a T20 series tour to Pakistan before they head over to England for another T20I series.

“The plan was that we’ll play him, give him a full run, till the World Cup he’s not going anywhere. The 3-4 matches he got here (New Zealand), New Zealand’s team is coming here in April and then we’re going to England so he will get those 10 to 15 matches before the World Cup.” – Hafeez concluded. 

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Azam Khan Mohammad Hafeez New Zealand Cricket Team NZ vs PAK 2024 Pakistan national cricket team