Malik, Hafeez should retire with grace: Ramiz Raja
While Pakistan don't seem to have the prowess and experience to fill in the boots of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik at the moment, many still believe that the Men in Green should rather build a team for the future.
After Pakistan suffered 8 losses in 9 T20I games, including the embarrassing whitewash at home against a second-rung Sri Lankan side and the drubbing Down Under, the management decided that only fresh blood and talent was not sufficient. The focus moved strongly towards winning matches and for that, several changes were made to the team's squad.
The likes of Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Amir, Asif Ali, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Irfan and Wahab Riaz owing to their poor performances were dropped and a few new faces were given opportunities for the home series against Bangladesh, including Ahsan Ali, Amad Butt and Haris Rauf.
But the biggest change in the point of view of the Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq was that he stepped back from his conviction of building a team for the future and gave into the demands of the newly-appointed skipper Babar Azam to include the experienced Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik.
When selected, Hafeez was 39 and had already retired from Test cricket. At 37, Shoaib Malik too had hung his boots from ODI cricket. The selection of the two had a lot to do with the faith of Babar Azam in them. This emanated from their crucial role in the team when the Pakistan T20I uint had a golden run, under the combination of skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed and head coach Mickey Arthur.
Even at that time, there were questions about whether the selection of the seasoned pros was a step in the right direction or Pakistan cricket was moving backwards. But, after the two redeemed themselves with good knocks in the Bangladesh series, the issue went on the back burner.
Former cricketer turned commentator Ramiz Raja has again sparked the debate by saying that the retirement of veteran cricketers Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez can be beneficial for Pakistan and feels they should retire with respect and grace.
“They should bid farewell to the sport with with respect and grace,” Raja opined. “I don’t make personal comments as it clashes with my assignments. They have served their country well but its time they retire from international cricket.”
He added that the duo should help new cricketers step up, adding that all sides must eventually move forward with a fresh crop of players.
Shoaib Malik was quick to respond to Ramiz's point of view, "Yes Ramiz bhai, agreed. Since all 3 of us are the end of our careers let’s retire gracefully together - I’ll call and let’s plan this for 2022?" Malik sarcastically questioned on Twitter.
The Former Pakistan captain was clearly a bit ruffled as he responded to Malik, "Retire gracefully .. from what ?.. speaking my mind on Pak cricket? Sticking my neck out for pak cricket ? Wanting pak cricket back at top ? No chance .. won’t be gracefully retiring from that ever Malik Sahib! as for ur post retirement plans.
"Would be tough to start commentating in 2022 as that would make you my age almost And talking of careers , don't need a tutorial from u of all the ppl as history, which is a great teacher, would tell u that I retired while I was Captain of Pak team," the Pakistani commentator said in two tweets.
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