“We don’t want to end Haris Rauf’s career”: Wahab Riaz

In a recent development, Pakistan’s chief selector and former cricketer, Wahab Riaz, has addressed concerns regarding fast bowler Haris Rauf’s participation in the upcoming Big Bash League (BBL) 2023/24. Riaz emphasized that the cricket board’s intention is not to hinder Rauf’s career but to strategically manage his participation in the league.

The decision to allow Rauf to play in the BBL, despite a show-cause notice issued for his unavailability in Pakistan’s Test squad against Australia, has raised eyebrows. Wahab Riaz responded to these queries by stating, “Haris Rauf is a product of our system, and we don’t aim to end his career. When a player signs the central contract, prioritizing Pakistan cricket is a must. Termination clauses exist, but rumors are spreading as if everyone knows the whole story. Show cause notices are not uncommon, so it’s unnecessary to exaggerate the situation.”

Riaz clarified that a committee of 3-4 members assessed Rauf’s relevance to the national team’s plans before granting a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for his participation in the BBL. He highlighted that NOCs are a part of standard procedures and not a cause for undue concern.

Explaining the rationale behind the NOC, Riaz emphasized the potential benefits for Rauf’s performance. “Haris Rauf led the Islamabad team in the domestic T20 competition, but unfortunately, they didn’t reach the super eights stage. With a gap of one and a half months until the New Zealand tour, Cricket Australia’s Big Bash contract for him covers just five games. We aim to keep our players in rhythm, especially as he is a fast bowler. Hence, we granted him the NOC from December 7th to 28th. If selected, he will join the Pakistan team directly in New Zealand.”

In a strategic move, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has also granted NOCs to Usama Mir and Zaman Khan, underscoring their commitment to player development and providing exposure on the international stage. This decision aligns with the board’s approach to nurturing talent and ensuring that players benefit from diverse cricketing experiences.

As the cricketing community absorbs this information, the spotlight remains on Haris Rauf and his stint in the BBL, with fans and analysts eagerly anticipating his return to the national squad for the upcoming New Zealand tour.