Haris faces contract downgrade after refusing to play Australia Tests

Published November 23, 2023
In this file photo, Haris Rauf talks to media in Lahore. — AP/File
In this file photo, Haris Rauf talks to media in Lahore. — AP/File

KARACHI: Pakistan pacer Haris Rauf faces the risk of being downgraded in his central contract and could also be denied permission to play the Big Bash League after opting out of next month’s three-match Test series in Australia, the Press Trust of India news agency reported on Wednesday.

A reliable source told PTI that some senior officials in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) were unhappy at the attitude of Haris and also over the statements made by his Lahore Qalandars coach Aqib Javed, who defended the express pace bowler.

Pakistan’s new chief selector Wahab Riaz hit out at Haris on Monday for first agreeing to be considered for the Tests in Australia before making himself unavailable two days later citing workload and fitness concerns.

Wahab, himself a fast bowler who appeared in three World Cups, made it clear that being a centrally contracted player, Haris should have been available for the Test series.

“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 then 10-12 overs in a day in Australia,” Wahab had said at his press conference while announcing the squad for Australia.

“We also spoke to the team physio and trainer and they said Haris had no fitness issues and there would be no problem with him in Australia,” Wahab said.

Hours later sources quoting Haris in the Pakistan media said he had never made himself available for the Tests and had told the selectors he wanted to focus on white ball cricket and manage his workload.

But the source said that the very fact that Haris didn’t come out with a denial directly had convinced the senior board officials he was playing games with the board and selectors.

“There has been discussion that if Haris is only focused on white ball cricket then the central contact given to him also needs to be reviewed since he was placed in category B which carries a monthly retainer of over four million rupees plus enhanced match fees, bonuses and a share in the PCB’s share of ICC revenues.

“Those players were given top two categories who were considered all format players,” the source said.

He said it could be expected that the board might either ask Haris for his final decision on red-ball cricket and revise his contract and the player also has the option of going freelance and returning the central contract to the board like other international players including Trent Bolt and Jason Roy.

“An NOC for playing in the Big Bash could also be withheld by the board,” the source added. The source said that both Hafeez and Wahab had conveyed their disappointment over Haris’ attitude to the PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf.

Haris played one Test back in December against England in Rawalpindi where he bowled just 13 overs before getting injured.

Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2023

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