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Malik opens up as Hafeez nears double milestone in T20Is

Hafeez is set to become the second Pakistan player and sixth overall to feature in 100 T20Is

Malik opens up as Hafeez nears double milestone in T20Is PHOTO: AFP

Veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik, in a PCB podcast, opened up about his Pakistan teammate Mohammad Hafeez nearing double milestones in T20 Internationals (T20Is).

Hafeez will become the second Pakistan player and sixth overall to feature in 100 T20Is when he takes the field against South Africa in first of the four men’s Twenty20 Internationals at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Hafeez, 40, is one shy of reaching the three-figure mark and all set to join the exclusive club of Shoaib Malik (116), Rohit Sharma (111), Martin Guptill, Eoin Morgan and Ross Taylor (102) who have appeared in 100 or more T20Is since the inception of the shortest format of the game in February 2005.

“I am very happy and proud as a Pakistani. I wish he [Hafeez] becomes player of the match in his 100th T20I and Pakistan wins the match. I hope he continues to perform like this for a long period of time,” Malik said.

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While Hafeez will be aiming to join Shoaib in the list of players to have played in 100 or more T20Is, he will also be looking to score, at least, 13 runs that will help him leapfrog Shoaib as Pakistan’s leading run-scorer in T20Is.

Shoaib has to date scored 2,335 runs in 116 T20Is, while Hafeez is sixth on the list with 2,323 runs in 99 matches.

“I have always enjoyed batting with him. Everything becomes a lot easier for those who are batting alongside him. He mostly deals in boundaries so it takes the pressure off the other batsman. Youngsters can learn a lot from him. Hafeez is becoming a better player with age. Age is just a number for Hafeez,” he said.

“He recently played two remarkable knocks against England in England, which helped us level the series. I will always remember those two knocks,” he added.

Hafeez featured in Pakistan’s first-ever T20I in August 2006 in Bristol and scored 46 in Pakistan’s five wickets victory over England. Interestingly, Hafeez’s 50th appearance was also at the Wanderers Stadium against South Africa in November 2013 when he as captain took two for 25 and scored 13 not out as the hosts beat Pakistan by four runs in a rain-shortened match.