Redeemed Hafeez never questioned Pakistan future


After returning from the wilderness and leading Pakistan to their first away win over Australia for 12 years, Mohammad Hafeez claims he never feared for his international career.

The 36-year-old all-rounder was dropped from Pakistan's Test team following the drawn series away to England last year and was not initially selected in the squad for the five-match one-day international contest against Australia.

However, the veteran, having had his bowling action cleared by the ICC, was recalled for the 92-run loss in the ODI opener in Brisbane last week.

And on Sunday he filled in for injured captain Azhar Ali, promptly top scoring with 72 as the tourists won by six wickets at the MCG, their first away victory over Australia in any format since 2005. 

Asked if he thought his international career was over, Hafeez said: "To be honest it was never [that] negative in my mind, I knew I could be back in the team at any stage.

"My performance was not good at domestic level, but thanks to the management here and the selectors back home, they trusted my ability, they asked me to come up here and do the job [and] add value in the team. 

"Unfortunately our captain was not there, because he's the man that is running this team for the last one and half years. I just got the opportunity and I think it worked for Pakistan."

Mohammad Amir (3-47), Junaid Khan (2-40) and Imad Wasim (2-37) restricted Australia to 220 all out on Sunday, before Shoaib Malik (42), Babar Azam (34) and Sharjeel Khan (29) all helped Hafeez chase down that underwhelming total.

"Our bowlers really did the job for us, because that was really important, to restrict Australia [to] under a score where we as a batting unit [could] chase that," Hafeez said.

"250 on this track was looking a little bit [of a] par score because it [the ball] was not coming on to the bat and then I believe, personally, everyone responded really well. We kept the pressure on and that worked really well for us in this game.

"Everyone took the responsibility to do this job for Pakistan. In the last game we feel we had our moments but couldn't continue that pressure. History just got changed, so we are more happy as a team now," he added, referring to the drought-breaking triumph.