Experienced Pakistan all-rounder Abdul Razzaq has called for the axing of Mohammad Hafeez as the national T20 captain and said he was to blame for the team’s disastrous exit from the ICC World T20 2014 in Bangladesh.
Mincing no words, Razzaq said, Hafeez should be removed as captain as he had pursued a policy of personal likes and dislikes while selecting the team with the national selectors remaining silent spectators.
“Hafeez is to blame for the defeat because he went there with a team of his choice and he played the eleven he wanted.
He was unable to handle the pressure when the going got tough against India and the West Indies,” Razzaq said.
The 34-year-old, who has played 46 Tests, 265 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and 32 T20 matches, has been shunned from the team most of the time since Hafeez took over as the captain in 2012.
The two had a public fallout after the last World T20 in Sri Lanka when Razzaq blamed Hafeez for not selecting him for the crucial semi-final against Sri Lanka which Pakistan lost.
Before the semi-final, Razzaq had played a winning role in the victory over Australia. Hafeez later said Razzaq was unfit for the semi-final, a claim the all-rounder has denied.
As a result of the fallout the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) fined Razzaq and censured him. Razzaq, still rated as one of Pakstan’s top all-rounders in T20 and ODI cricket, said he was appalled at the way the team had batted against the West Indies.
“There was no game plan and they were afraid to play positively and this will always let you down in this format of the game where your approach must be positive all the time,” he said.
Razzaq also lashed out at former chairman of the board Zaka Ashraf for being responsible for his ouster from the national team.
“Zaka Ashraf was the person who wanted to make Hafeez captain and for this he first had him appointed as captain of the Lahore Lions team although Hafeez played for Faisalabad.
But since Faisalabad were already being led by Misbah-ul-Haq, Zaka knew Hafeez would never get a chance to lead the side so he had him move over to the Lahore team,” he said.
“He [Hafeez] has always followed a policy of personal like and dislike while selecting players and ignored merit. Neither has he allowed new players to settle down,” Razzaq alleged.
The all-rounder said the PCB and new selectors now need to take some strong decisions and start preparing the team for the ICC World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand.
“I believe we have some very good players for the shorter format of the game but they need a good leader who will give them confidence and back them.”