Hafeez quashes talks he is after permanent ODI captaincy

Karachi [Pakistan], Jan.18 : Pakistan all-rounder and stand-in skipper Mohammad Hafeez has rubbished speculation surrounding that he is running to take over captaincy from Azhar Ali in ODI format on a permanent basis.

The 36-year-old guided Pakistan to an impressive six-wicket win against Australia in the second ODI in the absence of Azhar, who has been ruled out of the series due to hamstring injury.

Hafeez's 72-run knock not only inspired Pakistan to level the series, but also gave birth to the idea that he should take over the armband permanently from Azhar.

When quizzed by the reports if he has any plans on succeeding Azhar, Hafeez shut down them saying that Azhar is the team's captain and that everyone in the team wants him back.

"I think talking about captaincy here is irrelevant. Our captain is Azhar [Ali], and we want him back in the team as soon as possible," the Express Tribune quoted Hafeez as saying.

Calling on his team to back Azhar as an ODI captain, Hafeez insisted that the former's captaincy has been improving with each passing day and that one could observe it in the West Indies series.

"I always believe that every player in the team has to back whoever the captain is, as it is about the Pakistan team, and not any individual.

Azhar's captaincy is improving day by day, which he showed in the West Indies series as well," he added.

Hafeez further revealed that his team's morale have received a huge boost following their emphatic win at the MCG.

He added that they would now look forward to perform well in all departments of the game in the upcoming matches.

"Our confidence is high after the win. We are playing very good cricket and the team is focused on the job in hand. We know we have to perform in all departments," he said. While reflecting on the squad, Hafeez hinted that Pakistan would might go with the unchanged Playing XI, which means there will be no place for pacer Wahab Riaz.

"We are happy with the team's combination.We haven't yet had a chance to look at the pitch, but we have some idea about what team combination will be tomorrow," Hafeez concluded.

Pakistan will play the third ODI of the five-match series against Australia at the WACA Ground tomorrow.

Source: ANI