LAHORE               -           Pakistan veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez has said that he will not stop playing cricket on someone’s opinion.

Hafeez said this while talking to the sports journalists during an online session arranged by the PCB media department here on Monday. This was actually a reply to former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja’s advice about retiring from international cricket in order to give youngsters chance to represent the country.

“I am not playing cricket on anyone’s desire and will not stop playing cricket based on someone’s opinion. I have been justifying my selection for the last 17-18 years by my performances and will continue to do it. I will cut off this topic on this note that it’s my career, my choice,” he said.

Hafeez also said that his aim is still to play the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia, which is in uncertainty due to COVID-19 pandemic. “I decided to retire after playing the T20 World Cup, if this tournament postpones or have some changes in its schedule, I will maintain myself to play the tournament,” he added.

Hafeez also requested the International Cricket Council (ICC) to view bowling angle regulations, which were implemented a few years back and had a strict impact on off-spinners. “Beauty of the game has disappeared due to some regulations. The excitement between the ball and bat has been limited. In order to protect and modernize this game, some changes must be considered,” he added.

When asked about the ICC’s ban on use of saliva on the ball, Hafeez said he is happy as long as cricket is resuming and these ‘small’ changes are temporary and can be adjusted with. “Life is a challenge. Personally, I feel cricket resuming gives me greater joy and for that I am willing to neglect small changes in rule. It will be back and it is a temporary change I feel. “I have been injured a lot of times and I managed to come back. So it’s similar. We need to sacrifice for the game to continue and we need to be ready to do it.”

It must be noted that Hafeez retired from the elite format of the game in 2018 against New Zealand because he wanted to focus on white-ball cricket. When asked about returning to Test cricket, if his services are needed, he said: “All these players will go and return in one flight. There cannot be any replacement keeping safety in mind. I hope the situation does not arise where I have to play Test cricket again. But I will always put my hands up if the team needs me.”