Pakistan veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez, one of the stanch naysayers of bringing left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir back in the national squad after the 2010 spot-fixing scandal, has buried the hatchet against the 25-year-old and both are partners on the field when they represent the Men in Green.
Their camaraderie was tested in an interview by the Pakistan Super League (PSL) media team when they were asked to discuss their recent face-off in the second edition of the tournament where the pacer won the battle in the third match of the tournament.
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Peshawar Zalmi beat Karachi Kings by seven wickets while chasing a 119-run target and Amir got Hafeez out for a four-ball duck.
“Whenever Hafeez comes in to bat in T20s, he bludgeons every bowler if you allow him to get settled,” said Amir. “Our plan always is to get him out early to our benefit.”
And where does Amir bowl to get Hafeez out? “We have played a lot of cricket together, so I know his weakness that if I swing the ball in early on then I can be successful against him. That is what I always try,” he revealed.
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Meanwhile, Hafeez, the 36-year-old right-hand batsman, says Amir is great with the new ball so the plan is to see him off early on.
“When Amir is bowling, we always want to see him off early on because we all know that he can swing the new ball both ways,” said Hafeez. “In the recent past [during the PSL], he got me out on a couple of occasions.”
However, the rivalry between Amir’s ball and Hafeez’s bat is only limited to the field.
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“We were playing for our teams [in the PSL], so all that mattered for him [Hafeez] was his Peshawar side and for me Karachi was important,” said Amir. “So, we forget at that point that we play for the same national team. In the PSL it is the same as when we play against Australia or India or any other team; a bowler always tries to do a little bit sledging just to mentally torture the batsmen and then to get him out.”
And what does Hafeez has in mind for the next edition of PSL when he faces Amir again? “I am not planning any revenge but as a batsman you always want to attack opposition bowlers and score runs for your team. It is not a serious clash to be honest. Everyone wants to be successful on the pitch, but off the pitch we all shake hands, we all praise each other’s efforts."
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