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Haris Rauf’s last-minute withdrawal from Australia tour stirs controversy

Haris Rauf's last-minute withdrawal from Australia tour stirs controversy

  • Haris Rauf’s abrupt withdrawal from the Australia tour, as revealed by interim chief selector Wahab Riaz, raises questions about the internal dynamics within the Pakistan Cricket Board.
  • Despite PCB statements citing Rauf’s need for rest and recovery, Riaz expresses disappointment, hinting at potential political tensions and emphasizing the impact on Pakistan cricket.
  • Riaz highlights the importance of players prioritizing national duty, especially in the absence of frontline Test bowlers, urging a collective commitment for the greater good of the team.

In an unexpected turn of events, Pakistan cricket is grappling with the withdrawal of Haris Rauf from the upcoming Australia tour. Wahab Riaz, the interim chief selector, expressed his disappointment over Rauf’s last-minute decision, shedding light on the complex dynamics within the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Rauf, having recently earned the undesirable title of the most expensive bowler in the ICC World Cup 2023, cited the need for rest and recovery as the driving force behind his decision.

Riaz, who assumed the role just days ago, commented during underlying political tensions within the PCB, making it challenging to believe the true nature of Rauf’s departure for the cricket fans.

While PCB statements emphasize Rauf’s desire for a break, Riaz expressed scepticism, suggesting that it might be perceived as a departure at odds with the national interest. The fast bowler’s abrupt change of heart, despite earlier consent to participate in the Australia Test series, has left the cricket fraternity in suspense.

New selector doesn’t seem happy with Haris’s decision on Australia tour

According to Riaz, the PCB offered assurances to Rauf, pledging to manage his workload and accommodate any potential setbacks. The physio reportedly confirmed Rauf’s physical fitness, asserting that while fatigue was present, it could have been effectively managed.

The interim chief selector conveyed his disappointment, emphasizing the potential impact on Pakistan cricket. Rauf’s role as an impact player in Test cricket, endorsed by the captain and coach, was expected to provide a crucial boost, especially with the frontline Test bowlers facing fitness challenges.

“We spoke to Haris Rauf about this tour two days ago, and he gave his consent to playing Tests for Pakistan. However, he changed his mind last night and didn’t want to be a part of this Australia Test series,” Riaz said.

“He was worried about fitness issues and workload. We gave him assurances that we will facilitate him and accept any potential failures. Our physio said he has no injury concerns. He is fatigued, but we could have managed him well. However, he pulled out and is unavailable for this tour. I think this could hurt Pakistan cricket.

Addressing the situation, Riaz underscored the need for sacrifice and commitment to the national cause. He highlighted the unavailability of three frontline Test bowling options, all capable of bowling at speeds exceeding 140, due to fitness concerns. Riaz stressed the importance of players prioritizing national duty, urging them to overcome personal considerations for the greater good of Pakistan cricket.

“We spoke to the captain and coach, and they wanted to utilise Haris Rauf as an impact player in Test cricket. We weren’t demanding more than 10-12 overs a day from him, which he has done in ODIs. Our frontline Test bowling options who bowl 140+ and can create an impact are unfit, all three of them. As a player, I think you need to sacrifice in such a situation and look to play for Pakistan rather than moving back.”

As the Pakistan squad gears up for the Australia tour, the absence of Haris Rauf raises questions about the team’s strategy and the internal dynamics at play. The unexpected twist adds an element of uncertainty to Pakistan’s preparations, putting the spotlight on the challenges faced by the PCB in maintaining unity and focus within the team.

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