Pakistan’s former captain Mohammad Hafeez, who announced his retirement from international cricket on Monday, said that players found guilty of corruption in the sport should never be allowed to represent their country.
Hafeez told a media conference in Lahore after announcing his retirement that he stood by his stance that players who “fix matches and betray their country” should never be allowed to play.
“To me, the biggest disappointment and hurt of my career was when I and Azhar Ali took a principled stand on this issue, but we were told by the board chairman that if we don’t want to play, fine, but the concerned player will play,” Hafeez said.
Hafeez also made it clear that his retirement had nothing to do with PCB chairman Ramiz Raja’s stance that he and Shoaib Malik should have retired after the 2019 World Cup.
“No I had started thinking about my retirement since the 2019 World Cup but my wife and some well wishers convinced me to carry on. But I had started thinking about since than.
“As far as what Ramiz said or felt that is his opinion and I have always respected critics and my way has been to go out on the field and give reply to them. I haver no hard feelings towards anyone in the board.”
Hafeez insisted he was retiring from international cricket without any regrets.
The senior player, however, admitted that since the T20 World Cup he had been trying to meet the PCB chief.
“Ramiz said it was because he thought I wanted to speak about my category in the PSL and central contracts. But when I finally met him on 31st December I told him I just wanted to inform him about my decision to retire.
“I took this decision because I want to set a new and positive precedent for others to follow. Players must retire gracefully, at the right time with respect, and after taking the board into confidence.”
Hafeez also called for better communication between the players and the board.
“Improvement is needed in this area for sure because these communication gaps need to be reduced as they lead to all kinds of problems.”