Fear of facing Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada didn’t influence Test retirement: Mohammed Hafeez
Mohammad Hafeez's final Test innings came to an end with a bowled dismissal. ©Getty Images

The veteran Pakistan allrounder Mohammad Hafeez has responded to speculation over his recent retirement from Test cricket by stating that he did not take the call out of any concerns over facing Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada in South Africa later this month.

Hafeez, 38, called time on his Test career during the recent Abu Dhabi match against New Zealand – which Pakistan lost by 123 runs to surrender the series – and bowed out with scores of 0 and 8 to give him a batting average of 37.64 after 55 matches.

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Since he scored a century on his return to Pakistan’s Test squad in October, Hafeez managed 57 runs in six innings. In the Tests with New Zealand, he had scores of 20, 10, 9, 0 and 8.

Speaking on Geo News this week, Hafeez responded to a question by saying: “People think that I am afraid of South Africa’s playing conditions and [Dale] Steyn and [Kagiso] Rabada. I have to face these bowlers in one-day cricket also. I will answer these statements with my performance.

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“I did not retire from Test cricket because I was not performing. I retired from Test cricket because of personal reasons. I have achieved many milestones in my career and there were no other milestones left for me to play for. I want to focus on white ball cricket from now on.”

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Hafeez remains a member of Pakistan’s limited-overs squads. His recent form in T20Is – the format in which Pakistan are ranked No 1 – has been excellent: scores of 39, 40 and 32* in a 3-0 sweep of Pakistan in October and 45, 34* and 53* to be named Man of the Series as New Zealand were beaten 3-0 this month.

His form in ODIs this year, however, has been patchy. Hafeez scored 1, 60, 0, 80 and 6 in the 0-5 loss in New Zealand in January and when recalled to the team to face the seam team in the UAE last month, he made 0, 27* and 19.

Pakistan travel to South Africa this month for three Test matches, five ODIs and three T20Is.