Mohammad Hafeez’s participation in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is under doubt after he sustained a fractured thumb in the Pakistan Super League game between Lahore Qalandars and Karachi Kings. Hafeez sustained the injury in the 13th over of the Karachi innings when Colin Ingram smashed a flighted delivery back at the bowler and he was visibly in pain. Hafeez was the captain of the Lahore Qalandars, a franchise who has finished at the bottom of the table in the last three editions of the tournament. Hafeez has now been advised to undergo surgery either in Dubai or London and he has been released by his franchise. "Hafeez's participation in the One-day series against Australia in UAE and even the World Cup is now in doubt as early indications are that he will require six to eight weeks to recover from his injury," a source in the Pakistan Cricket Board said.
The franchise will now be captained by AB de Villiers and he started off in style as the Lahore Qalandars won the match by 22 runs against Karachi Kings. Haris Rauf picked up 4/23 in four overs and he was well-backed up by Rahat Ali’s 3/19. Hafeez’s replacement is an interesting one as his place in the side will be taken by Salman Butt, who was handed a ban following his involvement in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal against England in Lord’s.
Butt served a five-year ban from September 2010 to September 2015 after being found guilty of spot-fixing by the International Cricket Council on the tour of England in 2010. His teammates, Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Aamir were also given similar bans by the ICC which expired in 2015. Butt, who has not been considered for national selection since his ban expired despite doing well in domestic cricket in all formats, was a member of the national squad that won the World T20 in 2009 in England.
Hafeez had experienced resurgence in his playing career, managing 149 runs at an average of 49.66 in the five-match ODI series in South Africa which Pakistan lost 2-3. In the two Twenty20 International series against Australia and New Zealand, Hafeez averaged 40 and a whopping 132 respectively as Pakistan dominated.
Butt returned to domestic cricket in 2016 and managed to average 107 in the National One-Day Cup while in the National T20 Cup, he averaged 70.