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Mohammad Hafeez opines on ‘selfish’ remarks for Virat Kohli’s 100 vs SA in 2023 World Cup
By SMCS - Jun 21, 2024 9:18 am
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Former Pakistan batter Mohammad Hafeez shared his views on his take on Virat Kohli intentionally slowing down in scoring to complete his century against South Africa in the 2023 ODI World Cup. However, Kohli was on 97 off 115 deliveries with the team at 293/5 in the 47th over but took another four balls to complete his century in the 49th over of the Indian innings as well.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli got some start

Hafeez criticized Kohli post-game for being “selfish” as he comments faced backlashes from fans and other former cricketers, including Michael Vaughan. Yet, in a recent conversation with Vaughan and Adam Gilchrist on the Club Prairie Fire Podcast, Hafeez shared his views as well.

“No matter who is batting, your intention and way of playing should always be towards winning the game. But if someone is stopping himself not to play big shots in the 90s, I will never take it. After 95, if someone is taking five balls to get to his hundred and not thinking of hitting off those 3 or 4 balls, and if the intention gets changed after scoring a 100, why can’t I play the same shot on 95? So in that game (South Africa), Virat took a lot of balls to get to his 100 and he was not playing big shots,” said Hafeez.

He further added, “Personal milestones should go away from cricket, they mean nothing if it is not on a winning cause because in the game of cricket, even one run can matter. If someone can play a shot after scoring a century but cannot play the same shot in the 90s, it doesn’t sit right with me as a fan of the game. Whether it’s the first ball or you are on 99, you must play according to the game situation.”

It was Kohli’s 49th ODI century, with that he levelled with the legendary Sachin Tendulkar for the most tons in ODI history. Despite Hafeez’s
remarks, Kohli’s century helped India reach a massive 326/5 and then India register a 243-run victory over South Africa. Mohammad Hafeez accused KL Rahul of playing a similarly selfish knock during Team India’s win in their opening game of the 2023 ODI World Cup against Australia. Rahul was batting on 91 with India needing only five runs to win off nine overs as well and after a dot delivery off the first ball of the 42nd over, he tried to reach his century with a boundary followed by a maximum as well.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul scored a fifty in a crunch game

“I remember in the same tournament, KL Rahul played a fantastic shot over extra cover to finish the game off (vs Australia) and he was not happy that India won the game but was unhappy because he couldn’t get his own hundred. This is a selfish approach and then the same happened when Virat Kohli did the same thing when he was more into his 100 than adding value to the team (vs South Africa),” said Hafeez.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Hafeez recalled some shocking scenes during his tenure as Pakistan men’s team’s director as well.

“I went into the dressing room and found 4-5 players are sleeping in the dressing room while playing Test cricket. I was like, ‘How come you guys can do that?’ If you do something like this, you cannot be a part of this team. I want you guys to stay focussed during the game and off the game, whatever you guys do, it is your own life, I never get involved in it. But in professional timings of the game, I want you guys to focus on the game. You tell me Gilly, if a player is sleeping in the dressing room and we are playing Test cricket. 4-5 players are sleeping in the dressing room, should I allow that as a team director? You cannot switch yourself off during the game, but unfortunately the media didn’t like it,” concluded Mohammad Hafeez.