Hafeez quits as captain after Pakistan failure

RIZWAN ALI
Last updated 04:44 04/04/2014

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Mohammad Hafeez quit as captain of Pakistan's Twenty20 team on Thursday (local time) after it failed to qualify for the semifinals of the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

Hafeez announced the decision after meeting with the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board in Lahore and also said he will step down as vice-captain of both one-day and test teams.

"I accept the whole responsibility of poor performance (in World Twenty20) and has stepped down from the captaincy," Hafeez told reporters. "I am available to represent Pakistan in all the three formats and play under any captain."

Reigning champion West Indies eliminated Pakistan with an 84-run victory in the last group match on Tuesday as the 2009 champions were bowled out for just 82 while chasing 167.

Hafeez scored only 55 runs in four group matches and took only one wicket in the tournament when he got rid of dangerman Chris Gayle in the last match.

Pakistan defeated Bangladesh and Australia in two group matches but missed out on a semifinal spot for the first time with defeats against archrival India and West Indies.

Hafeez replaced Misbah-ul-Haq as T20 captain in May 2012, but often faced criticism over his poor batting - especially while facing fast bowlers.

He led Pakistan in 29 Twenty20s, winning 17 matches and losing 11 while one match against Australia in the United Arab Emirates in 2012 was tied.

"I want to give someone else a chance to take the team forward and hope better decisions will be made for the improvement of the team," Hafeez said.

Pakistan head coach Moin Khan, who replaced Dav Whatmore before the Asia Cup in February, and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas said their short contracts of two months also ended with the team's early exit from the World Twenty20.

"My assignment has ended, but I have told the chairman (PCB) I am available if I be given a chance again," Khan said.

PCB chairman Najam Sethi said he appreciated Hafeez and the coaching staff taking the responsibility and hoped new management will make a difference in the team's performance.

"There were mistakes in the team selection, there were mistakes in the captaincy and there were mistakes in the coaching," Sethi said. "We have now enough time to see what deficiencies we have and work on it."

Flamboyant allrounder Shahid Afridi said on Wednesday (local time) he was ready to accept Pakistan's Twenty20 captaincy but criticised Pakistan's top order for the poor performance in the World Twenty20.

Former test cricketers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Yousuf said Hafeez made the right decision in stepping down and asked him to concentrate on his batting.

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"He has made a brave decision," Akhtar told private television channel Geo TV. "He knew Afridi will be the new captain and he made the right decision."

Yousuf said Hafeez should bat lower down the order instead of putting pressure on the team while batting at the No 3 position.

"He gets exposed against the fast bowlers and it's better he should come lower down the order," Yousuf said. "He should concentrate on how to remove technical flaws in his batting."

Pakistan's next international assignment is in October when it takes on Australia in one-off Twenty20, three one-day internationals and two test matches in the UAE.

- AP

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