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Ashwin’s absence helped us: Hafeez

Bangalore: Did India play it into Pakistan’s hands by not playing a specialist spinner? At least Mohammed Hafeez feels so.

Asked whether he was surprised not to see Ravichandran Ashwin in the Indian XI, Hafeez said: “We were a bit surprised… But his absence definitely helped us. The Indian pacers were bowling fast. So, Shoaib and I planned that if we can negotiate the new ball, we can easily dominate their spinners, who were not world-class in this match. I think they didn’t have quality of spinners.”

“I know Yuvraj is in great form… But if you are not a world-class spinner, it becomes difficult for you to perform in every match,” he added.

Praising his bowlers, Hafeez said: “It is a great effort as we wanted to do well at the start of the series. The boys have shown great character, especially our bowlers. I think Mohammed Irfan was brilliant, though it was just his debut T20 match. We expected him to perform and thought that he would be the surprise package for us. He didn’t disappoint us.”

“The bowlers have performed beyond our expectations… Also, the fielding was superb,” Hafeez said.