LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) terminated fast bowler Haris Rauf’s central contract and denied him a No Objection Certif­icate (NOC) to participate in league cricket until June 30 on Thursday.

This action comes as a consequence of Haris’ refusal to join the Pakistan Test team for the recent tour of Australia, which coincided with his stint at Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL).

In a press release issued on Wednesday, the PCB stated: “After a comprehensive hearing process conducted by a PCB committee and considering the perspectives of all involved stakeholders, Haris’ central contract has been terminated effective December 1, 2023. Furthermore, no NOC will be granted for participation in any foreign league until June 30, 2024.”

“The PCB management extended an opportunity for a personal hearing to Haris in line with the principles of natural justice on January 30, 2024. However, his response was deemed unsatisfactory,” the statement added.

The PCB emphasised that representing Pakistan was “the highest honor and privilege for any athlete. Refusing to join Pakistan’s Test squad without presenting a medical report or justifiable reason constitutes a significant breach of the central contract.”

Before Pakistan’s tour of Australia late last year, several pacers were sidelined due to injuries, prompting chief selector Wahab Riaz to include Haris in the squad.

However, Haris declined to participate in Test cricket, sparking controversy. Wahab publicly stated that the bowler would face consequences for his decision.

The 30-year-old’s refusal had cau­sed a standoff with PCB which ended when the board granted him permission to make a limited appearance in the BBL before joining the national squad for a five-match T20 series against New Zealand in January.

With Mohsin Naqvi assuming the role of PCB chairman, succeeding Zaka Ashraf, the decision to terminate Haris’ contract has been made public.

Haris has played only one Test match for Pakistan, focusing his career on limited-over cricket. He has also played in T20 franchise leagues in Bangladesh and the US.

Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2024

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