Pakistan team director Mohammad Hafeez expressed optimism on Tuesday that former captain Babar Azam will definitely “shine” by putting up strong performances in the future.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore, Hafeez said: “The players have been geared up for the Test series against Australia. Playing on the Australian tour will be challenging for the players. I felt that our players are ready to accept the Australian challenge.”
At the outset of his speech, Hafeez expressed his gratitude to PCB management committee chairman Zaka Ashraf for appointing him as team director.
“We will try all-out efforts to give the best possible results against Australia,” he added.
He admitted that Pakistan cricket remained "behind" in terms of playing modern cricket. “We missed planning in a way to produce better results,” he added.
Hafeez said, “Our chief selector has done the right thing by selecting the best performers from the domestic circuit."
The 43-year-old has expressed confidence in the Test team, saying, “Pakistan are strong in the Test format. We have batters who are in good shape and performing well. Though we faced some difficulties in our bowling department. But the best possible bowlers have been selected for the Australian tour.”
He appreciated the inclusion of Khurram Shahzad. “It was a good omen to pick up Khurram Shahzad into the playing squad. He is performing well in the domestic circuit.”
Hafeez made it clear that former captain Babar Azam and Shan Masood have a strong bond. “I am an admirer of Babar Azam’s capabilities. We will also take Babar Azam on board over the right strategies,” he added.
In connection with the appointment of Shaheen Shah Afridi as the T20I captain, Hafeez said: “I did not propose the name of Shaheen Shah Afridi as the T20I captain. If Shahid Afridi had said that I proposed the name Shaheen, Then it is better to ask this question from Shahid Afridi only.”
“Shah Afridi can tell why he did not want Shaheen Shah Afridi as the captain and wanted Mohammad Rizwan to lead the team,” Hafeez said.
“Both Shaheen Shah Afridi and Shan Masood are capable players who have been appointed as captains by Zaka Ashraf,” Hafeez said.
Hafeez said, “I did not come here to secure a job, but to render my services for the team’s sake. My aim is to see that the players are utilising their potential to the very best.”
“My goal as the team director is to see that the players are meeting the criteria of modern-day cricket,” Hafeez said.
“I will accept the responsibility of every defeat,” he said.