Addressing the media on Saturday, Hafeez addressed concerns regarding Babar’s captaincy and stressed the importance of a collective effort.
“It is not fair to just blame him for not reaching the Asia Cup final. We are not willing to give credit alone to the captain for reaching a final, so why blame him alone for not reaching the Asia Cup final? Cricket is a team game,” Hafeez said, underlining the collaborative nature of the sport.
Hafeez further emphasised the need to stand by Babar Azam and the team during this crucial phase.
“These bunch of players have been playing together for a while now under Babar, so if we take care of some weak areas, Pakistan remains among the top four favourites in the World Cup,” he asserted.
While addressing areas of improvement, Hafeez stated, “We need to reflect on where we went wrong, and what is obvious is that our spinners didn’t deliver as expected, and the injuries to Haris and Naseem did hurt us.”
Hafeez made it abundantly clear that a change in leadership at this juncture would not be prudent, stating, “Babar needs full support, and it would be a folly to even think about changing the captain now.”
Reflecting on the unique challenges of playing in India, Hafeez drew from his own experiences, having participated in the 2011 World Cup in India.
“The problem is many of our players have limited exposure to playing in Indian conditions,” he acknowledged.
“It is a big challenge for any Pakistani player to perform in India during a mega event, but hopefully, we can count on our players to rise to the occasion. We shouldn’t let the disappointment of the Asia Cup deter our optimism or support for the team.”
(With inputs from PTI)