Mohammad Hafeez’s stint as Pakistan team in-charge ‘cut short’

Pakistan

Mohammad Hafeez‘s stint as Pakistan cricket’s supremo has formally ended, as he readies to return to the TV studios ahead of the ninth season of the PSL. Hafeez was team director and de facto head coach of the men’s national team, overseeing tours to Australia and New Zealand. But one day before the start of the PSL, he announced on social media that his stint had been “cut short” by the “new chairmanship” of the board, referring to Mohsin Naqvi who is the new PCB chairman.

“I accepted the new role as a director PCB with great passion to make positive reforms but unfortunately my designated tenure which was offered by the PCB for 4 years was cut short for 2 months on the account of new chairmanship,” Hafeez said on X (formerly Twitter).

Hafeez was appointed to the dual roles in November, though it was never made clear how long the stint was going to be. The interim administration at the time, led by Zaka Ashraf, was very specifically restricted by the government from making long-term appointments; it may have been offered to him for four years but given the political uncertainty before the elections, it was unlikely a long-term role would ever be a realistic option.

On Thursday, the PCB formally announced it was parting ways with Hafeez in a statement expressing “heartfelt gratitude” to him. While the statement did not make clear whether the decision to end the relationship had come from Hafeez or the PCB, Hafeez’s statement today puts any doubts to bed.

Hafeez’s stint did not generate an uptick in on-field results. Pakistan were whitewashed in a series in Australia for the sixth time in a row, although they ran Australia closer than on some previous tours. They were then thumped 4-1 in a T20I series in New Zealand, with Shaheen Afridi in charge as captain of Pakistan for the first time.

And though his stint was short-lived, it was not without incident. He was on board with the hard line Pakistan adopted towards Haris Rauf after he put himself out of contention for the Test tour to Australia. That has since resulted in the cancelling of Rauf’s central contract. Hafeez also prevented Under-19 cricketers from playing in Pakistan’s domestic National T20 Cup, on the basis that T20s would distort the basics of their game.

In Australia, Hafeez complained about the surface Pakistan played their warm-up game ahead of the first Test on, then said Pakistan played better than Australia in the Boxing Day Test they lost by 79 runs and blamed the “curse” of technology and poor umpiring for the loss.

Hafeez had replaced Mickey Arthur as director and Grant Bradburn as coach in a period of considerable administrative flux, during which Pakistan also removed Babar Azam as the all-format captain. Compounded with poor results on the field stretching back to the Asia Cup in August last year, that sense of Pakistan cricket being engulfed in some chaos has not eased since.

“Best wishes for Pakistan cricket future,” Hafeez said. “As always, I foremost take responsibility and put myself accountable for all my executions in my given time and will accordingly reveal all the cricketing and other amateur non-cricketing facts which ensue bad performances. Stay tuned…”

That sign-off is understood to be teasing his new role, as a TV analyst for the PSL which starts on Saturday.

Pakistan’s next international assignment is in April, a series of T20Is at home against New Zealand.

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