‘This will hurt Pakistan cricket’: Wahab slams Rauf for opting out of Australia Tests

'This will hurt Pakistan cricket': Wahab slams Rauf for opting out of Australia Tests

In his first press conference since being appointed to the role, Wahab announced Pakistan’s 18-member squad but almost instantly shifted focus to Rauf’s non-selection, accusing the player of going back on his word. It’s a claim that, a source close to Rauf told ESPNcricinfo, the player vehemently denies.
“We spoke to Haris Rauf for this tour,” Wahab said. “When we spoke to him two days ago, he gave his consent to play Test cricket for Pakistan. But last night he changed his mind and now he does not want to be part of this Test series. I am revealing this because “We should be honest with the officials, the teammates and the public. We spoke to Haris and he was worried about his body and his physical condition, as well as his workload. Mohammad Hafeez and I sat with him and tried to facilitate him in every way. We told him that even if he didn’t perform well there, we would accept him.

“Our physiotherapist spoke to him and told him that we wouldn’t expect any problems or injuries. Of course there is fatigue, but we were sure we could have handled it very well. But he pulled out at the last moment and was not available. “I think this will hurt Pakistan cricket.”

ESPNcricinfo understands that Rauf views his exchange with Wahab very differently. A source close to the player revealed that Rauf had never committed to playing Test matches in Australia and confirmed his non-availability the previous night. He told Wahab that he had not played much red-ball cricket in the build-up and that he wanted to work on his white-ball game and his fitness.

Wahab also brought up other talking points about Pakistan’s first-team selection since Babar Azam left the captaincy, but repeatedly found himself backtracking on Rauf.

“I just told you a short version of what Haris and I talked about,” he said. “We spoke to the captain and coach and said we saw Haris Rauf as an impact bowler. We did not demand more than 10-12 overs a day. The only problem is when you say you are available for Pakistan, especially at a time when our top three high pace players, who can bowl over 140 [kph] other than Haris are not available. At some point, you have to sacrifice to play for your country. “Haris was committed to us and he backed out after two days.”

That Rauf’s absence has provoked such a strong reaction is also a surprise for cricketing reasons. Rauf has only played one Test match, the first against England in Rawalpindi last year. He was injured after bowling 13 overs in the first innings and did not play thereafter. He was not part of Pakistan’s squad for the away series in Sri Lanka, which Pakistan won 2-0. But conditions in Australia, coupled with the unavailability of Naseem Shah and Ihsanullah, mean Wahab appears to have felt strongly about having Rauf on tour.

“I’ve played with most of these guys and I have a great relationship with them,” Wahab said. “But when it comes to professionalism, we have to look at what is best for Pakistan. Haris was not available after the England series and was not part of any other Test series. When you are a centrally contracted player, it is your duty to serve to Pakistan. “I’m not disappointed, but the same players will later complain that they weren’t given the chance and people will ask why they didn’t select this or that player.”

However, Wahab said that it would not affect his inclusion in Pakistan’s T20I and ODI teams but that he would “respect and value players who want to be a part of red-ball cricket. Playing red-ball cricket makes you a better player.” “. player.”

The conflict between player and coach sets up a fascinating showdown ahead of the Big Bash League in Australia. Rauf is considered a star player for the Melbourne Stars. The league begins on December 13 and runs until February 4, overlapping with the three Tests in Australia, and would have hampered his availability had he been part of the Pakistan squad.

However, ESPNcricinfo also understands that there is no guarantee that the PCB will issue a No Objection Certificate for Rauf to play the BBL while relations between the chief selector and Rauf remain strained. Pakistan’s centrally contracted players signed recent contracts in which the PCB agreed to allow the players to participate in two foreign T20 leagues, but how that plays out in practice remains to be seen.