Haris Rauf’s extraordinary rise continued after the Melbourne Stars paceman, who was playing cricket in Tasmania just a few weeks ago, was chosen to play in Pakistan.
Rauf appears to have missed many games for the stars in the BBL09 regular season back-end after Pakistan announced Thursday that it had made a 16-man team to play a three-game T20 series against Bangladesh starting next week.
The stars of the rankings are confident that the 26-year-old, who took a hat-trick against the Sydney Thunder at MCG last week, will return for his finals campaign, which will begin on January 31st assuming he won’t abandon the top two.
Pakistan plays in Bangladesh in the T20 on 24, 25 and 27 January, all in Lahore.
Star list manager Trent Woodhill and coach David Hussey discussed Rauf’s availability for the rest of the season on Thursday. Their four home and away games will be held on January 18, 20, 22 and 25.
Pakistani T20 team to play in Bangladesh: Babar Azam (c), Ahsan Ali, Amad Butt, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan, Musa Khan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Usman Qadir
Rauf’s inclusion comes when high-profile Mohammad Amir was barred, with Pakistan making seven changes to the team that lost 2-0 to Australia in November.
Expert couple Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik have been called back to the Pakistani team, as has the fast young Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Rauf was a revelation for the stars and a testament to the power of the BBL; torn out of the dark for their first two games to replace his idol Dale Steyn, the right wing army was dropped after taking a five-wicket beam as the South African returned.
But, with only two points in the XI available for overseas players, he was held back while British bowler Pat Brown was barred from the tournament due to an injury.
Despite speaking limited English which initially created a communication barrier with Captain Glenn Maxwell and the Stars coaches, Rauf flourished as the team’s weapon of attack.
Rauf grew up playing tape ball cricket and only started playing seriously in 2017 after participating in a trial with Pakistani Super League team Lahore Qalandars, impressing the scouts when he threw a ball at 148.5 km / h .
He initially struggled to adapt to hard ball cricket, but eventually thrived in the 2019 PSL edition, taking 11 wickets in 10 games, following extensive work with former test bowler Aaqib Javed.
He was playing for Glenorchy Magpies in Hobart when he received the call from the stars, and now has the second largest number of wickets (16) of any bowler in this BBL season.
“I didn’t even know Haris was here until I got there,” Steyn told cricket.com.au earlier this month. “I didn’t know much about him and saw him hitting the net before the first game he played and scared everyone.
“He was bouncing and eventually they had to go to him and say, ‘look, you have to stop playing bowling now. We have a game tomorrow. You can’t hurt any of them.'”
Pakistani head of selection Misbah-ul-Haq is confident that Rauf can help reverse Pakistan’s troubling crash in the T20 cricket, despite being the number 1 team in the ICC rankings, ahead of next summer’s World Cup in Australia and the Asian Cup this year.
“We have lost eight of our last nine T20I and, being the number one ranking, this is unacceptable,” said Misbah.
“We must end our losing cycle and return to the winning habits that will lead to the next Asian Cup and the ICC T20 World Cup. This played a fundamental role in our decision-making process.
“We tried our alternative combinations in the series against Sri Lanka and Australia, and obviously these did not work as expected.
“The games against Bangladesh are part of our preparation, finding the right combination and building for the two major tournaments.
“The return of Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik and Shaheen Afridi offers us the experience and depth, while the exuberance of Ahsan Ali, Amad Butt and Haris Rauf offers the team more firepower, energy and all-round skills.”