‘Fitness Not the Priority’: Hafeez Slams Poor Physical Standards Under Babar’s Captaincy in Lead-up to WC 2023

Mohammad Hafeez (L) and Babar Azam (R) - (Image: AFP)

Mohammad Hafeez (L) and Babar Azam (R) – (Image: AFP)

Ex-director of the Pakistan men’s cricket team, Mohammad Hafeez made some shocking claims on the team under the captaincy of Babar Azam in lead-up to the World Cup 2023.

Former director of the Pakistan cricket team, Mohammad Hafeez had made the shocking claim that the ex-skipper, Babar Azam, and the former coaches, Mickey Arthur and Grant Bradburn had taken the team’s fitness levels as their lowest priority, leading to the 2023 ODI World Cup hosted in India.

Hafeez had made a shocking claim that the former skipper Babar and the coach had mutually decided that the team’s fitness would be given the lowest priority ahead of the World Cup.

“When I took over as director (in 2023) and we reached Australia, I told the team trainer to give me a report on the players’ fitness standards and prepare a new fitness regimen,” said Hafeez on the ARY Sports Channel.

“He told me that the former captain (Babar) and head coach (Arthur) had told him six months ago that fitness is not the priority at the moment and let the players play as they wanted,” Hafeez said.

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“This was shocking news for me when he (team trainer) told me that he was told to not check the players’ fitness”.

Hafeez also mentioned that when he checked the body fat percentage and endurance levels of the players, it was way below the international cricket standards.

He also alleged that the players’ body fat levels were not as per the fitness standards as well. He said,” The players’ skin fold (body fat level) was one-and-a-half points above the normal limit.”

Another shocking claim made by the former director is that some of the players could not even complete a stamina test where the players would be running a 2 km trial.

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Under the captaincy of Babar, the team had failed to make it to the knockout stages of the World Cup having lost five games and finishing in the fifth position on the table.

Hafeez who had a stellar international career with Pakistan, had been appointed as the Director of cricket for the Pakistan senior men’s team following the disastrous World Cup campaign.

However, his tenure as the director was cut short after being whitewashed in the Test tour of Australia and the 4-1 series defeat against New Zealand as well.

With Pakistan Cricket ushering in a new era by appointing Mohsin Naqvi as their new chairman of the PCB, they can put their woes behind them and return to playing their best cricket.

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