Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez has retired from international cricket.

The all-rounder played in 392 matches for his country in all formats, including 55 Tests, with his final appearance coming in the semi-final defeat to Australia at the Cricket World Cup.

Hafeez, who was captain for 32 international matches, scored 12,780 runs and took 253 wickets in an 18-year Pakistan career that began against Zimbabwe in Sharjah on April 3, 2003.

Ranked the number-one Twenty20 all-rounder by the ICC in 2014, Hafeez was described by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja as "a wholehearted cricketer who worked tirelessly at his game to have a long and fruitful career".

Hafeez said: "Today I say goodbye to international cricket with pride and satisfaction. In fact, I have earned and accomplished more than I had initially envisaged and for that, I am thankful to all my fellow cricketers, captains, support staff and the Pakistan Cricket Board who helped me out during my career.

"And, of course, my family who made big sacrifices to ensure I achieved my aspirations of representing Pakistan at a global stage.

"I am extremely fortunate, lucky and proud to have been considered worthy of donning the national kit with Pakistan emblem for 18 years. My country and my team have always been at my forefront and therefore, every time I stepped on to the field, I tried to raise their profile and image by playing hard and tough but within the rich traditions of spirit of cricket.

"When you have a professional career as long as mine, you're bound to have your share of highs and lows, and I was no different. Results apart, I can say with conviction that I had more highs as I had the privilege of playing with and against some of the finest exponents of the bat and the ball of my era.

"While cricket has been a great learning school for me, this great sport has provided me opportunities to visit various countries, explore their cultures and make friends. These are lifelong memories, which I will cherish every day. I want to thank my fans and supporters for believing in my abilities and backing me throughout my career."

Australia's Marnus Labuschagne has risen to number one in the ICC Test batting rankings.

Labuschagne made his Test debut for Australia in 2018 against Pakistan in Dubai. However, it was during the 2019 Ashes that the 27-year-old came to prominence.

He became the first player to be a concussion substitute in a Test match when he replaced Steve Smith in the second match at Lord's, after the former Australia captain had been struck on the back of the neck.

His resilient 59 helped Australia secure a draw and he was named in the line-up for the following Test and has not looked back since.

Labuschagne has averaged 62.14 from 20 Tests, and has scored 74, 0 (not out), 103 and 51 in his four innings in the 2021-22 Ashes as Australia cruised into a 2-0 lead.

He has hit six centuries, including one double-hundred against New Zealand in January 2020.

Labuschagne's career-high 912 rating points saw him leapfrog England captain Joe Root, who has had a brilliant 2021 when it comes to run-scoring, even if his side have struggled.

Indeed, Root has now scored 4,859 runs as England Test captain, surpassing the previous record set by Alastair Cook (4,844).

Steve Smith, Kane Williamson and India's new white-ball captain Rohit Sharma complete the top five.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam, meanwhile, has risen to the number one spot for T20I batsmen, though he is tied with England's Dawid Malan.

Mitchell Starc has bowled impressively in the Ashes so far and has moved into the top six for bowlers.

New Zealand will tour Pakistan twice in 2022-23 after the two boards reached an agreement in Dubai last month.

The Black Caps pulled out of a limited-overs series in Pakistan at the last minute due to a government security alert.

Kane Williamson's side will be back in the country to play two Tests and three ODIs from December next year to January 2023.

They will then return for five ODIs and as many Twenty20 Internationals in April 2023 to make up for not facing Pakistan this year.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said: "Our respective chairmen, Ramiz Raja and Martin Snedden, had very fruitful and constructive discussions while in Dubai, further strengthening the bond between the two organisations It’s good to be going back."

Raja the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, said: "I am pleased with the outcomes of our discussions and negotiations, and thank Martin Snedden and his board for their understanding and support.

"This reflects the strong, cordial and historic relations the two boards have, and reconfirms Pakistan's status as an important member of the cricket fraternity."

Pakistan achieved their highest ever successful run chase in T20 Internationals on Friday to complete a 3-0 series sweep of the West Indies in Karachi.

The home side made 208-3 from 18.5 overs to win by seven wickets.

The Pakistan opening pair of Mohammad Rizwan and Captain Babar Azam were comfortable throughout the first powerplay, taking 60 from the six overs with Rizwan on 32 and Babar on 27.

The pair raced to 98-0 after 10 overs with Rizwan bringing up a half century, his second of the series, on the last ball of the 10th over, and Babar on 46.

A boundary off the first ball of the 11th over bowled by Oshane Thomas made Mohammad Rizwan the first batsman ever to score 2000 T20 runs in a calendar year.

Babar achieved his 50 off 40 balls in the 12th over.

Rizwan and Babar brought up their 150-run partnership in the 15th over, which ended with Pakistan 158-0, still needing a further 50 from 30 balls to secure the sweep.

Babar was finally dismissed for 79 on the first ball of the 16th over bowled by Odean Smith.

Rizwan’s brilliant innings of 87 from 45 balls was finally ended in the 18th over when he was caught off the bowling of Dominic Drakes leaving Pakistan on 184-2 needing 24 off 16 balls to win.

Fakhar Zaman was the next Pakistan batsman to go, caught in the 19th over off the bowling Romario Shepherd for 12 to leave them 195-3.

Pakistan got to their target off 18.5 overs thanks to a late cameo of 21 from seven balls from Asif Ali.

Earlier, The West Indies won the toss and elected to bat, posting an excellent 207-3 thanks to 64 from captain Nicholas Pooran.

He was well supported by Shamarh Brooks who got 49 and Brandon King who scored 43.

Shahnawaz Dahani was Pakistan's best bowler on the day with 1-23 from his four overs.

Mohammad Rizwan was named Man of the Match and, after his brilliant 203 runs in three matches, was also named Man of the Series.

The West Indies have set Pakistan a target of 208 to win the third and final T20 in Karachi thanks to 64 from Captain Nicholas Pooran, his highest T20 International score.

Darren Bravo and Gudakesh Motie replaced Shai Hope and Akeal Hosein in the team for this game as Hope and Hosein were among the five additional members of the touring party to test positive for COVID-19 during PCR tests administered by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday.

With Hope missing, Shamarh Brooks joined regular opener, Brandon King, at the top of the innings. Together they brought up 50 in the fifth over with King going well on 37 and Brooks on 11.

King was dismissed on the last ball of the powerplay by Mohammed Wasim Jr for a well-played 43 to leave the team 66-1 after six overs.

Pooran came to the crease to join Brooks who was on 21.

Brooks narrowly missed out on a maiden T20 International 50 when he was dismissed for 49 by Shahnawaz Dahani in the 10th over to leave the West Indies 99-2.

After 15 overs the West indies were 153-2 with Pooran on 37 and Bravo on 16. Pooran brought up his fourth T20 International 50 in the 17th over off 31 balls.

He was eventually dismissed by Wasim Jr for 64 from 37 balls to leave his team 192-3 in the 18th over.

The 200 came up in the 19th over with Bravo on 30 and Rovman Powell on four.

The West Indies eventually ended their turn at the crease on 207-3 with Darren Bravo finishing not out on 34 from 27 balls and Rovman Powell not out on six.

Pacer Shahnawaz Dahani was the pick of the Pakistan bowlers with 1-23 from his four overs.

 

The ODI series between Pakistan and the West Indies have been postponed due to an outbreak of the Covid-19 virus among the visiting delegation. Five additional members of the touring party tested positive for the virus after PCR tests conducted by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday.

The West Indies white-ball tour is at risk of being cancelled after five additional members of the touring party tested positive for Covid-19 during PCR tests administered by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday.

Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Justin Greaves as well as Assistant Coach Roddy Estwick and team physician Dr Akshai Mansingh all returned positive results and will now undergo a period of self-isolation. Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, and Kyle Mayers had tested positive prior to the start of the series are also in isolation.

With a total of six players now ruled out of the tour due to COVID-19 and a finger injury to Devon Thomas (sustained in the 1st T20I), CWI and PCB Officials met Thursday morning, after all members of the touring party were tested again, to determine whether the tour can continue.

According to sources, it was decided that the final T20 will be played but the ODI series could be called off if there is a further outbreak among the West Indies players.

The West Indies trail 0-2 in the T20 having lost the first match on December 13 by 63 runs and the second on December 14, by nine runs.

 

West Indies T20 captain, Nicholas Pooran, said he is unable to explain why his players, himself included, continue to make mistakes that prove to be costly in matches. Pooran was speaking with the media in the wake of his team’s narrow loss in the second of three T20 Internationals in Karachi on Tuesday.

The issue of Andre Russell’s loyalty to West Indies cricket was up for discussion on the Mason&Guest talk show in Barbados on Tuesday night and it sparked a contentious conversation between the show’s host Andrew Mason and CWI West Indies Vice-President Kishore Shallow.

Mason believes the CWI is seemingly willing to bend over backwards to accommodate the players’ fancies.

Russell had declared himself unavailable for the West Indies tour of Pakistan for three T20 Internationals citing personal reasons. A relatively inexperienced West Indies team has so far lost two of the three matches with one match to go on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Russell signed on to represent the Melbourne Stars in Australia’s Big Bash League. On the weekend, he scored an unbeaten 42 from 21 balls and was named Man of the Match in the Stars’ six-wicket win over the Sydney Thunder.

On Tuesday, Dr Shallow sought to explain why Russell was in Australia and not in Pakistan helping the West Indies.

“Russell indicated to the lead selector that he was mentally fatigued in the bubble and in the Big Bash League, where he is now, he would be required to be in a bubble,” Dr Shallow said. “That was the rationale provided to the lead selector.”

An obviously exasperated Mason was unable to contain his displeasure at the situation where certain players only choose to represent the West Indies when it suits them to.

“Yes, Dr Shallow, they have got to get the opportunity to make money but there is a word called ‘sacrifice’,” Mason declared, adding that such situations are almost unique to the West Indies.
“The other players don’t do it to their countries, and I am sure Russell is going to be ready to play for us in the world cup and we are going to pick him.

“We cannot continue with the foolishness with these guys.”

Sir Andy Roberts also weighed in on Dr Shallow’s explanation, suggesting that the players seem to make their decisions based on money only.

“These guys just don’t want to play for the West Indies because the fees ain't that high,” said the long-retired fast bowler. “I am not saying that they should not be allowed to go but they should only go if the West Indies do not require their services.”

This is not the first time Russell has faced criticism over his decisions on when to represent the West Indies.

In December 2020, the iconic Antiguan fast bowler publicly criticized Andre Russell, who declined an invitation to play for the West Indies against New Zealand but later went to play in the Sri Lanka Premier League T20.

Chief selector Roger Harper told media that Russell declined the West Indies invitation citing the need to clear his mind after being in quarantine lockdown for both the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) in Trinidad and Tobago where he played for the Jamaica Tallawahs franchise and then, the Indian Premier League (IPL) in Abu Dhabi where he played for the Kolkata Knight Riders.

“Because he wants to clear his head for a while to get his mind together, I have no problem with that because cricket is a high-pressure game,” Ambrose said then.

“So if you want to clear your head for a while, take your mind off cricket I have no issues with that, but if you are going to reject playing for your nation, your country, and then two weeks later you’re playing for somebody else, that to me is a no-no.”

In a later interview, Ambrose provided further clarity.

“The game has evolved. There is a lot more cricket being played now and many different T20 tournaments around the globe and there’s lots more money as well, so guys are going to go where the money is and I have no issues with that,” Ambrose said.

“A cricket career can be a very short one, once you have an injury it could be all over for you so with guys going around plying their trade with different franchises making money to set themselves up financially, I have no issues with it.

“However, I think it needs to strike a balance somewhere because most of these guys who are playing their trade around the world, it’s because they played for the West Indies team why people saw them and gave them contracts.

So for me, you need to find a balance somewhere where you can give back to West Indies cricket. You need to give back to West Indies cricket at some point as opposed to abandoning West Indies

A Man of the Match performance from Shadab Khan helped Pakistan take an unassailable 2-0 series lead against the West Indies after a nine-run win in the second T20 International in Karachi today.

A late cameo of 28 from 12 balls by Shadab Khan propelled Pakistan to a respectable 172-8 off their 20 overs in the second T20 international against West Indies in Karachi Tuesday.

Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat first.

After getting to 14 without loss in the second over, Mohammed Rizwan and captain Babar Azam inexplicably went for a single that resulted in the Pakistan captain being run out for seven.

Rizwan and new batsman Fakhar Zaman attempted to steady the ship with a 19-run fourth over off Oshane Thomas to take the score to 38-1. The partnership was broken by Akeal Hosein, who had Zaman stumped for 10.

That wicket brought together, Rizwan and Haider Ali, who on Monday scored half-centuries in Pakistan's 63-run win over the visitors. Together, they guided the hosts to 50-2 at the end of the first powerplay.

Hosein bowled his four overs within the first seven and was once again excellent with figures of 1-16 to follow up his 1-19 performance Monday.

Pakistan were still only 2 wickets down at the halfway mark as Rizwan and Ali played sensibly to take the score to 73-2. The partnership was broken in the 12th over when Odean Smith had Rizwan caught at short cover for 38 from 30 balls. Smith got his second wicket of the day when Haider was caught at deep point by Shamarh Brooks for 31 on the last ball of the 14th over.

Hayden Walsh Jr got his first wicket in the very next over, removing Mohammad Nawaz, who was caught at deep mid-wicket for one.

Pakistan ended the 15th over 113-5 with Iftikhar Ahmed at the crease on 14 and Asif Ali on two.

Rovman Powell took an excellent catch off the bowling of Romario Shepherd to remove Ali for nine off the second ball of the 17th over to reduce Pakistan to 124-6.

Iftikhar hit two sixes off Thomas in the 18th over but was then dismissed caught behind off the last ball for a well-played 32 from 19 balls.

Shadab Khan brought up Pakistan’s 150 with a straight six off Dominic Drakes off the second ball of the 19th over.

Mohammad Wasim Jr was run out on the second to last ball of the innings for five.

Pakistan finished their 20 overs 172-8 with Mohammad Rizwan top-scoring with 38 and Iftikhar Ahmed getting 32.

Odean Smith and Akeal Hosein were the best performers for the West Indies with the ball with 2-24 from 3 overs and 1-16 from four overs, respectively.

The West Indies lost the first T20 International against Pakistan by 63 runs in Karachi on Monday. Chasing 201 for victory, the Caribbean men folded for 137 in 19 overs.

The West Indies lost too many wickets early with Brandon King (1), Nicholas Pooran (18) and Devon Thomas (2) all back in the hutch within the first six overs. It would only get worse for the visitors, who slumped to 60-5 after losing Shai Hope for 31 and Shamarh Brooks for five within three balls of the 10th over bowled by Shabad Khan.

Not even the in-form Rovman Powell could rescue the West Indies. Powell hit a four and two sixes before he, too, fell to Khan for 23 off 15 balls.

His was the seventh-wicket to fall after Dominic Drakes had been dismissed by Haris Rauf for five.

Romario Shepherd and Odean Smith provided some rearguard resistance with a partnership of 46 that was eventually broken when Shaheen Shah Afridi bowled Smith for 24 with the West Indies still needing 67 from the last two overs.

Romario Shepherd went next ball, bowled for 21 by Mohammad Wasim, who would later bowl Oshane Thomas for one, to finish with 4-40.

Shabad Khan took 3-17 from his four overs.

Earlier, half-centuries from Mohammad Rizwan and Man-of-the-Match Haider Ali had steered Pakistan to 200-6 off their 20 overs after Nicholas Pooran won the toss and sent the home team to bat.

The visitors had immediate success when Babar Azam was dismissed in the first over bowled by Akeal Hosein, who got the Pakistan captain to nick one into the gloves of Shai Hope behind the stumps.

The West Indies had further success in the fifth over when Fahkar Azam skied a Romario Shepherd delivery and was caught by Shamarh Brooks for 10 to have Pakistan at 35-2.

Despite the loss of those two wickets, Pakistan maintained a healthy strike rate with Rizwan and Ali putting together a stand of 105 in 62 balls before Rizwan was caught in the deep by Odean Smith, who gifted Shepherd with his second wicket of the match.

Rizwan ran well between the wickets and hit 10 fours in his score of 78 from 52 balls.

The West Indies fought back with the wickets of Asif Ali removed by Oshane Thomas for 1 and Iftikhar Ahmed dismissed by Smith for seven as Pakistan slipped from 140-3 to 161-5.

However, Ali and Mohammad Nawaz, kept Pakistan above nine an over, the latter being rather brutal hitting three fours and two sixes in his unbeaten 10-ball 30.

Between them, they scored 30 from 11 balls before Ali was the last man out for 68 in the 20th over bowled by Dominic Drakes.

Drakes ended with figures of 1-43 from his four overs. Smith proved expensive with 1-52 from his four while Shepherd was the best of the bowlers with 2-43. Twenty-one of those runs came off his last over, the 19th of the innings.

 

Half-centuries from Mohammad Rizwan and Haider Ali steered Pakistan to 200-6 off their 20 overs in the first of their three T20 internationals against a new-look West Indies team in Karachi on Monday.

Nicholas Pooran, West Indies T20 captain for the tour of Pakistan that begins on Monday, believes the absence of Kyle Mayers, Sheldon Cottrell and Roston Chase for the series, presents opportunities for other players to show what they are worth.

The three players tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival in Pakistan last week and have been ruled out of the tour that involves three T20 internationals and three ODI’s from December 13 to 22. 

While describing the situation as being ‘unfortunate’, the Trinidadian, who is leading the team in the absence of the injured Kieron Pollard, said that while the unavailability of the three players will disrupt their initial plans, he believes it presents a chance for others to take advantage.

“(The) selectors and coaches had original plans on what the 11 would look like, who was going to play, who wasn’t going to play,” Pooran told members of the media Sunday.

“When saying that, other guys are going to get the opportunity to showcase their talent and abilities, so we are looking forward to seeing those guys take their opportunity.”

The three players out with Covid is expected to have a major impact on the team that is already without several of its senior players including Andre Russell, Jason Holder, Shimron Hetmyer and Evin Lewis.

In their absence players like Odean Smith, Gudakesh Motie, Dominic Drakes, Justin Greaves and Shamarh Brooks, are among those aiming to cement a place in the team that has begun a process of rebuilding following a disastrous ICC T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates where the West Indies was eliminated in the group stage after winning only one of their five matches.

Pooran said he is excited to see what the new players will bring to the team.

“It’s obviously a new rebuilding stage for us now. It is unfortunate that we don’t have other senior players here but when saying that I am very excited to see this new crop of players get onto that cricket field,” he said.

“I believe that there are a lot of talented players here, a lot of special players, especially when it comes to the shorter form of the game so I am very excited to see what’s going to happen on the cricket field. I am looking forward to seeing us play together, sticking to our plans as much as possible and being hungry for success.”

 

 

 

Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell and Kyle Mayers are all unavailable for the West Indies T20 series against Pakistan after returning positive Covid-19 tests in Karachi.

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