Pakistan opener Mohammad Hafeez has thanked two people after his sublime 126 on the opening day of the first Test against Australia at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
After not being picked for the Asia Cup 2018 squad and in the original 17-member squad for the two-Test series against Australia in the UAE, Hafeez had decided to announce his retirement from cricket. However, wife Nazia and former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar stepped in to persuade him that he still had a role to play.
Hafeez, 37, was a late addition to the squad as Shan Masood failed in the four-day match for Pakistan ‘A’ against Australia in Dubai.
"I had a few problems in the last few months. I could have taken some steps, drastic, but I was stopped from taking them. I could have taken them, my wife stopped me. Shoaib Akhtar specially called me and at that time I was thinking of drastic steps as I was very disturbed,” Hafeez told reporters after the end of first day’s play.
"I think Allah is the best planner and he planned good things for me. I could have been something else this time. I probably think this is the place where I had to stage a comeback. When I came back in the team all the players welcomed me and gave me confidence, and that increased my inner energy so I am very happy at the comeback," he further added.
Hafeez has made quite a few comebacks across all three formats and this one was his fifth in red-ball cricket. He has last played a Test for Pakistan back in 2016.
"Look, Younis Khan had to prove himself even in his last Test, so it happens with us (too). It's like this and it's tough to understand yourself that how many times you have to prove yourself. You are challenged by that, your critics challenge you and they wait for your bad performances and highlight them. That challenges you and it brings the best out of you,” Hafeez asserted.
"Whoever is the player is, he wants to leave with respect and that is my wish. I want to play with respect. There are other avenues after that but whatever life is left in me I want to play for Pakistan and leave on a high," he concluded.