Performance should be top priority for selection not fitness: Hafeez

ISLAMABAD-Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez believes the top priority for selection in the team should be performance, saying fitness was just one of the criteria for the game not everything.

“If fitness is the only thing required for cricket then only athletes would have been playing the game. A performer should be given priority who is winning matches for the county. Fitness is one of the parts but not everything,” he said while talking on a show at a private news channel.

Speaking about the fixing issues, Hafeez who scored 3,652 runs in 55 Tests, said anyone who has damaged Pakistan’s pride should not be given a chance. “If a player was proven guilty then he must not be allowed to play for the country again. Standards should be set in the game as the country’s pride comes first,” he said.

To a question, he said former skipper Sarfraz Ahmed should blame himself for losing a place in the team. “Sarfraz didn’t use his abilities when he was the captain. He distanced himself from performances by hiding himself. To make a comeback he needs to come up by performing,” he said.

Talking about his bowling, Hafeez, who scored 6,614 runs in 218 ODIs, said it was good that his action was cleared, as he enjoys bowling. Hafeez was cleared to bowl internationally last month, after he passed an independent assessment at an International Cricket Council (ICC) accredited biomechanics lab in Lahore.

Hafeez’s bowling action was last flagged in a Vitality Blast match last year. “This was imposed on me as the findings of the test was not clear and had many flaws and shortcomings. We also highlighted it with the review committee and they accepted,” he said and added, “I accepted the decision as a true sportsman.”

The all-rounder, who scored 1,992 runs in 91 Twenty20 internationals, said that he has been working very hard on his bowling for the last two years along with his biomechanical expert and bowling coach. “I am very hopeful of doing well during the upcoming assignments not only with bat but also an all-rounder and try to help my team register crucial victories.”

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