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Australia vs Pakistan: Wahab Riaz does U-turn on Haris Rauf

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Pakistan chief selector Wahab Riaz, who had previously criticized fast bowler Haris Rauf for opting out of the Test series in Australia, is now defending the issuance of a no-objection certificate (NOC) allowing him to participate in the Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia.
In a statement to the media on Saturday, Wahab explained that the PCBgranted the NOC strategically to maintain Haris’s peak form in preparation for the upcoming T20 series in New Zealand.This move is aimed at ensuring Haris remains in optimal condition for the forthcomingcricket events.

“From now until the New Zealand series, there is a gap of 1.5 months during which Haris Rauf isn’t playing any cricket. His contract with Cricket Australia for the Big Bash comprises only 5 games.

“Considering the thought that there won’t be any cricket for 1.5 months and he’s a fast bowler, to ensure he maintains his rhythm, we have given him a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from December 7th to 28th.
“This will cover his 5 Big Bash matches so that he can then travel with the Pakistan team for the New Zealand tour. This is the science behind giving him the NOC,” Wahab explained.

Wahab’s remarks regarding the fast bowler indicated a notable shift in his position.

“Two days back he (Haris) told us he was available for the test series and last night he said he had worries over his workload and fitness issues so he was not available,” Wahab said at the press conference on November 20.
“I and the Director of Pakistan team, Muhammad Hafeez we went and spoke to him in detail and told him that both the captain and coach wanted him (Haris) to play in Australia as he was an impact bowler and we assured him he would not bowl more than 10-12 overs in a day in Australia,” Wahab narrated.
“As a centrally contracted player we felt he should have not taken a step back. We felt Haris, if he wanted to play for Pakistan, should as a player be ready to make a sacrifice and play for the team,” the chief selector had said.
Notably, during his press conference on November 20, Wahab asserted that, moving forward, only players prioritizing national commitments would be taken into consideration as part of the selection policy.
“Any player no matter who he is or how big a player is, if he is not giving priority to the Pakistan team then he will not feature in our future plans,” he added.
(With PTI inputs)


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