Aug 21, 2013 Sports
CPL – ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Pakistan Twenty20 International captain Mohammad Hafeez has said he would love to return for next year’s Limacol Caribbean Premier League (LCPL) after piloting the Guyana Amazon Warriors to the semi-finals of the inaugural tournament.
Hafeez blasted a spectacular unbeaten 50 from just 23 balls against the Antigua Hawksbills on Saturday night, his last action before linking up with the Pakistan tour of Zimbabwe.
It sealed an impressive league campaign for the Warriors who topped the six-team table with five wins from seven matches and they now face Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel in the first semi-final at the Queen’s Park Oval tomorrow.
“It all depends on the international schedule (next year) but if I can then I will definitely come back,” said Hafeez. “To be honest, I was very sure the Limacol CPL tournament would be a success because the crowd here is very passionate about cricket. The crowd response to the whole tournament has been exceptional. We saw that, and I personally believe the tournament will get more and more success.”
Hafeez said he was fully committed to the Pakistan cause but his departure ahead of the business end of the tournament left him with a bitter-sweet feeling after having a thoroughly enjoyable time as part of a successful squad.
“I am definitely sad to be leaving and I am going to miss it but international duties always come first,” he said. “I was happy to join and in the same way I am happy that I am leaving on a happy note. The (Guyana Amazon Warriors) team is a very good one, the franchise is good and the teammates are happy and supporting each other.
“Martin Guptill, James Franklin, Sunil Narine, Ramnaresh Sarwan, these players are all top players and it has been great to get together and play for each other, and (coach Curtly) Ambrose is a great cricketer who gives us lots of confidence before and after each game, always encouraging us.”
Hafeez signed off with a spectacular display of high-class hitting to dump the Hawksbills out of the competition, blasting two fours and four sixes in his swansong match for the season, and breaking the hearts of the majority of the capacity crowd at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
He got his side home despite an asking rate that never dipped below ten runs per over all the time he was at the crease.
“When I went in I knew I had to take a chance but in a technical way,” he said. “If I tried too hard I knew I wouldn’t get it (right). James Franklin played a good role. Early on he shifted the momentum, then I was thinking to believe in myself, playing to my strengths. I tried and it worked for me.”
And does he now think the Warriors’ name is on the trophy for the inaugural event?
“I know my replacement (Lasith) Malinga is coming into the side and I hope his arrival will give us more confidence to lift the trophy,” he said. “The belief in each other is a strength of our team and I hope we can continue that belief. I wish and believe this tournament belongs to Guyana and I hope in the last two matches the boys will finish the games for me and the Guyana people.”
The inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League runs until 24 August with the two semi-finals taking place tomorrow and Friday, and the final taking place on 24 August in Trinidad.
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