Mohammad Hafeez has termed Haider Ali as a fearless player but said the young batsman has to sort out his technique in order to serve Pakistan for a long period of time.
Haider, who represented Pakistan in Under 19 World Cup earlier this year, was picked by Peshawar Zalmi for the fifth edition of the Pakistan Super League. He impressed in the tournament with his temperament and power hitting – scoring at a strike rate of over 150.
His only half-century came against Hafeez’s side Lahore Qalandars, where he raced to his fifty within a span of 31 balls, becoming the youngest batsman to register a half-century in PSL history.
“I found Haider Ali better than others as he tried to handle situations in a positive way and played fearless cricket. Whatever his skill set was, he did that in a positive manner,” said Hafeez in an exclusive chat with Cricingif.
Also Read: Deconstructing Haider Ali
However, Hafeez cautioned Haider to work on his technique considering higher levels of scrutiny in international cricket. “I personally think Haider Ali has to work a lot on his technique as we are used to comparing younger players to big names. But when that player comes at the highest level and he fails, then we are the ones criticize them big time.”
Hafeez encouraged all young batters to work hard on their techniques and hold their shapes for longer to add more consistency in stroke play.
“I want young batsmen holding their shapes, shot range. It’s more about how you perform and handle situations. Haider Ali ticks most of the boxes but he has to work hard on his technique.
“I would suggest all the upcoming players to work on their technique – make themselves better technical batsmen. Also equip themselves tactically so that they can adapt themselves to different situations and achieve high standards of fitness.”
Hafeez, who made a comeback to the T20I fold against Bangladesh this year, said playing for Pakistan was a matter of pride and he would exit from the side as soon as a better replacement came up.
“I feel if I can contribute for Pakistan cricket and if there is no better prospect to replace me, I will try to work hard and add more to Pakistan cricket.
“But if there is a better replacement for me, I will retire gracefully. For me, playing for Pakistan is a matter of pride. It’s not about any other thing,” he added.
"PCB's decision to make Babar Azam a T20I captain is a great one. He is a fantastic player. That's how you will develop someone who can serve Pakistan for the next 5-10 years. We have to develop leaders. We have to back this decision.
"We have to contribute by working in our humble capacity. Whenever any captain wins matches, his heart becomes bigger and he can then take bold decisions. I feel there is absolutely no need to make me captain. For me it is important to perform myself and win games for Pakistan."