After a lacklustre performance in the recently concluded ODI World Cup 2023, Pakistan is gearing up for a three-match Test series against Australia from December 14 to January 7. However, in a major development, star pacer Haris Rauf has opted out of the series to better manage his workload, leading to strong criticism from Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) new chief selector, Wahab Riaz.
Wahab Riaz Expresses Displeasure
In a candid statement to reporters, Wahab Riaz voiced his disappointment over Haris Rauf’s last-minute decision to withdraw from the Australia Test series. Riaz revealed that just two days ago, Rauf had given his consent to play Test cricket for Pakistan, but a sudden change of heart has left the team management frustrated.
“We spoke to Haris Rauf for this tour, and 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 doesn’t want to be part of this Test series. I’m revealing this because we should be honest with officials, teammates, and the public,” stated Wahab Riaz, as reported by ESPNcricinfo.
Concerns Over Workload and Fitness
Rauf cited concerns about his body, fitness, and workload as reasons for pulling out of the series. Riaz disclosed that despite efforts by the team management, including discussions with Rauf and assurance from the team physio that there would be no hindrance due to injury, the decision remained unchanged.
“Our physio spoke to him and said he wouldn’t expect any issue or injury. Of course, there’s fatigue, but we were sure we could have managed that very well. But he pulled out at the last moment and made himself unavailable. I think this will hurt Pakistan cricket,” expressed Riaz.
Impact on Pakistan Cricket
Wahab Riaz further emphasized that Haris Rauf’s decision to opt out of the Australia Test series will have a detrimental impact on Pakistan cricket. The chief selector highlighted that the team had offered support and reassurance to Rauf, assuring him that even if his performance wasn’t up to par, it would be accepted.
As Pakistan prepares to face Australia in the Test series, the sudden withdrawal of a key player has added a layer of challenge for the team. The ramifications of this decision are yet to unfold, but it undoubtedly raises questions about player commitment and its impact on team dynamics.