CARDIFF: The “unpredictable tag” so often associated with Pakistan cricket team brings a lot of flak for them but former captain and senior player Mohammad Hafeez bluntly declared it “as loving and enjoyable”.
Hafeez, speaking a day before the crucial must-win final Group B game against Sri Lanka at Cardiff on Monday, admitted he loved the tag and a fan of it.
“To be honest, I’m always a fan of that tag, even by many, as unpredictable team, so I’m very happy with that, and that’s what you can see. As a team, we’re always very aggressive,” Hafeez told media.
“Yes, we had some of the days which were not nice, and I think the first game was one of those where we all tried our level best but things didn’t work for us. And the next game, like it was a total different team effort, and that’s what I believe. As a team, we are always like that, and I love that tag always.”
Pakistan were shoddy in their 124-run loss against India in their opening match and were castigated for the lack of fight. But true to their tag, they bounced back by beating world number one South Africa in their second game by 19 runs on Duckworth-Lewis formula after rain abandoned the game.
Hafeez emphasized the task is also to be consistent.
“It’s my personal opinion. I believe like the first time it’s been given to the Pakistan team was when we won the World Cup 1992. If you see the history of Pakistan cricket from there till now, we’re always unpredictable. We have the talent, but still you never know when it comes. That’s something like always opposition think about it. They never take us light. They never think, like, we can take them on.
“At the same time, yes, being consistent is always like something we always work on it, and we wanted to be consistent enough to get in the right frame of mind always as a team. I think in this team — it’s a new team, but I still think we as a team are ready to take all the challenges coming ahead of us.”
Hafeez said Pakistan were ready for Sri Lanka at Cardiff.
“Well, first of all, we believe as a team we are ready and crystal clear when it comes to preparation. And the situation is very clear in front of us – like we have to win the game because rest of the things are just irrelevant because, once you are clear, then all things will come into place.
“So we are ready. We know like this is a game we all want to win and want to go through to the semis. Yes, we saw a little bit of the conditions. We had a couple of sessions here, and we very much prepared for that.”
Hafeez said the team was confident of doing well.
“Well, to be honest, I think it’s an achievement. Everyone wanted to go there, wanted to do well in this competition, but still I believe, and we believe as a team, we are moving towards the right direction. We know the rules. We know, as a team, we are gelling together. We’re doing what the job on our hands is.
“It would be great to achieve that and going forward in this tournament, but still I think we, as a team, are gelling together and doing the role what is required for the Pakistan cricket.”
Hafeez admitted getting full ten overs to bowl against South Africa was a boost after he was surprisingly not used against India.
“Yes, personally, I was missing that part of the time because that was something that I really wanted to do whenever I played cricket. The missing part was just released, and I’m really happy to do that job also for the team. I feel myself enjoying more in the ground, and also it is working for the team. That is always great.”