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Why was Mohammad Hafeez omitted from Pakistan’s T20I squad?

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Mohammad Hafeez did not find a place in Pakistan’s 20-man T20I squad named for the series against South Africa that begins in Lahore from February 11.

Mohammad Hafeez, who topped the run charts in T20 Internationals in 2020, was not named in Pakistan’s T20I squad for the series against South Africa owing to a clash in the date when he could enter the bio-bubble. Hafeez is currently in Abu Dhabi playing in the Abu Dhabi T10 League for the Maratha Arabians.

The PCB plans to have every player in the bio-bubble by February 3, exempting the Test players who are supposed to join the bubble after the second Test of the South Africa series. Hafeez had apparently written a letter seeking permission to join the squad on February 5. However, PCB were adamant that the players needed to be in the bubble by February 3, and therefore omitted Hafeez from the squad.

“Unfortunately, the scenario is as such that every player has to join the bio-bubble on Feb 3, and if a player can’t do so, it means he is unavailable,” Pakistan chief selector, Mohammad Wasim said. “If he was available, there’s no question on his performance, but unfortunately he is not available.”

Asif Ali, who is also playing the Abu Dhabi T10 League, has been named in the squad as he has agreed to join the bubble by February 3. “Following the Covid-19 protocols is mandatory for everyone involved. Asif Ali is also playing T10 League but he has agreed to join the bubble by February 3,” Wasim said as quoted by Pakistan Cricket.

Hafeez was in stellar form in T20is in 2020, topping the run charts globally with 415 runs at an average of 83 and a strike-rate of 152.57 with four fifties. He made scores of 69, 86 and 36 in England in the three-match series before smashing a career-best 99* in Napier against New Zealand followed by a 29-ball 41 in the final match of the series.

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