Over the past seven days, attention has shifted to the shortest form of the international game as the build-up to next week’s World Twenty20 gathers pace. Six different sides – Australia, Pakistan, England, South Africa, India and New Zealand – have all been in action over the past week (or would have been were it not for the weather), with several players making notable contributions to their team’s fortunes.
After much deliberation, it has been decided that Mohammad Hafeez is this week’s Cricket World Player of the Week. At first glance, it may not be an obvious choice, but, in each of the matches that Pakistan played last week, Hafeez made a more than useful contribution. He hit 78 in the final One-Day International against Australia on Monday; was named man of the match for his two for 24 in the opening Twenty20 International against them on Wednesday; and hit a steady 45 at the top of Pakistan’s batting order in the second match on Friday.
Hafeez, despite not being seen as one of the game’s ‘great’ players, is currently ranked as the second best all-rounder in ODI cricket and the fourth best in T20I cricket, making the 31 year-old one of the most underrated members of the international cricketing fraternity. He also captains Pakistan in T20Is and regularly opens both the batting and the bowling.
Following the super-over victory over Australia in the second T20I on Friday, Hafeez said that he was pleased with how things were going in the lead-up to the World Twenty20.
“I am happy in the way players are responding to me as captain,” he said. “Everyone is confident and that is a great sign for the team. As captain, I fell very proud of my team and I hope from here on they will continue also in the mega event.”
Other contenders for this week’s award were Mike Hussey and Glenn Maxwell, who both hit half-centuries in Australia’s win in the third ODI against Pakistan at the beginning of the week; and Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers who hit half-centuries to help South Africa tie the ODI series against England at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.
© Cricket World 2012
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