‘He was being played unnecessarily. It was unfair to him’: Hafeez attacks PCB over treatment of Pakistan’s star pacer

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced the men’s squads for the Netherlands tour and the Asia Cup earlier this week, which saw a couple of notable omissions. While veteran player Shoaib Malik didn’t find a place in the T20I side for the Asia Cup, bowler Hasan Ali was also dropped following a string of disappointing performances for the side. Uncapped white-ball pacer Naseem Shah replaced the out-of-form fast bowler Hasan in Pakistan’s squads.

“Hasan has been given a break from international cricket and he has been replaced by Naseem Shah. He is express fast and can give further impetus to the fast bowling department, which already boasts Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Shahnawaz Dahani,” Chief selector Muhammad Wasim said.

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Former Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Hafeez has now spoken in detail about Hasan’s absence from the side’s squads. Hafeez, who shared the dressing room with Hasan during his playing days, insisted that the bowler needed a break after relentless appearances for Pakistan, adding that the decision to rest the bowler should have been taken long ago.

“Hasan is a wonderful cricketer. I know him from his early years, he is a fighter. At certain stages in your career, when you are not going through good form, you get mentally tired, even though you want to perform. I think the management was unfair to him in the sense that he was played in matches where he could’ve been rested,” Hafeez told Dawn.

“The selection committee and team management decided to play him in every game, and mentally, he was not ready for that pressure. He didn’t get the gap he wanted. I think he was unnecessarily being played. So, it was a mistake from the management and even from Hasan to an extent. Because when you are young, you don’t understand how important the mental aspect of the game is.”

Hafeez further stated that Hasan should take the decision in his stride and make a strong comeback.

“I think Hasan should take this positively (his absence from Netherlands tour and Asia Cup). Spend some time with his family. I’m sure the 3-4 week break will give him much-needed rest and he will come back positively. He will feel more hungry. I feel this decision should have been taken quite early,” said the former Pakistan captain.

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