KARACHI: Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez on Friday said he was optimistic about clearing the biomechanics test of his bowling action held at an ICC-accredited laboratory in Brisbane a couple of days ago in a bid to regain his spot in the Pakistan side.
Talking to reporters here at the National Stadium during a practice session of his domestic side Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) ahead of the day-night Super Eight fixture in the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy against Wapda, Hafeez revealed that from his perspective the latest test held at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane went extremely well.
“I feel very content at this point in time because it all came through nicely. Insha’Allah, I hope to get the [ICC] clearance this time around because I felt something was missing from my game,” Hafeez said.
“Batting is my main forte but without being able to do well with another dimension of my cricket, which is bowling, I had this uneasy empty feeling. Bowling is something I love and doing it for a number of years now. My goal is to play for the country again after a spate of setbacks in recent times.”
Hafeez, who turned 36 last month, has been sidelined by a knee injury which kept him out of the Pakistan team since late August after playing the opening ODI against England at Southampton. He then went through a rehabilitation programme to regain fitness at Lahore’s National Cricket Academy before finally retuning to competitive cricket for his department in the ongoing Quaid-i-Azam Trophy.
The former Pakistan T20 captain was banned by the ICC from bowling in international cricket for 12 months after he failed an independent assessment of his suspect action at the ICC bio-mechanics laboratory — set at the Ramachandra University in Chennai — on July 6, 2015 when it emerged that his bowling action was illegal.
Hafeez had to undertake the Chennai test after being reported for a second time during the Test series against Sri Lanka last year.
Hafeez lauded the Pakistan Cricket Board for doing everything in its domain to help him undergo the latest tests and singled out two analysts and an England-based coach for helping him come through the process.
“The PCB has been wonderful in their support and the expertise they gave me has been exceptional. I owe my level of confidence to analysts Usman Hashmi and Talha Butt as well as Carl Crowe [former first-class player and now coach in England] for all the help and advice they gave me,” Hafeez remarked.
Commenting on the day-night Test in Brisbane when Australia host Pakistan in the opening game of the three-match series from Dec 16, Hafeez expressed his reservations at the idea of staging Test cricket under lights.
“I feel everyone is entitled to form his or her opinion but in my view the beauty of Test cricket is in natural light. The pink ball, for instance, has serious issues and somehow the game looks unreal when the traditional norms go missing,” reckoned Hafeez.
“It’s okay to understand cricket needs to step further but we have seen how the game has advanced in the form of reshaped one-dayers and T20s at the international level.
“That to me is enough to attract the followers [of cricket]. In modern-day cricket, seldom we see crowd flocking in big numbers to watch a Test, especially in our part of the world.
“Revolutionary changes are good for the sport but not at the cost of making Test cricket artificial. The recent Test in Dubai [when Pakistan hosted West Indies in the first match] was played in front of empty stands,” Hafeez noted.