Haris Rauf, the rookie tearaway quick who lit up the Big Bash League last season with 20 wickets in 10 matches at 13.35, is now aiming to make a name for himself in the longest format of the game.
Pakistan have sent a combined 29 man squad on their tour of England. Therefore, it is hard to determine who’s there to play Test cricket and who might end up playing Test Cricket.
Haris Rauf, who has played only three first-class games to date, is looking forward to attain a Test cap. And after a stellar previous season in white ball Cricket, it won’t be a surprise if he indeed makes it by the end of the summer.
Rauf said, “The way I started in white-ball cricket, I wish to make a name for myself in red-ball cricket too. It’s a long tour and a big opportunity for me. I have done well in T20 cricket but now I want to do something beyond that. I know I don’t have the experience behind me, having played only three first-class matches, but I know how to bowl longer spells. While playing club cricket in Australia, I played four-day games, so I have a fair idea of what it takes to bowl those long spells. This England tour is the best chance for me to further prove myself and do my best for the team there.”
A run of the mill tour and it was possible that Haris Rauf might not even be on Misbah ul Haq’s mind. But these are extraordinary times, when COVID-19 replacements are a thing and no one knows how secure “bio bubbles” are going to be. Rauf said that he’s set his mind on playing Test cricket, and if it happens in this immediate series against England, he considers himself absolutely ready.
“I have made up my mind that I want to play Test cricket. I am putting all the efforts to earn a Test cap. I am not only ready but also very excited to take a lot out of this England tour. Whatever chances I will get, I will try and make the most out of it,” he said.
Rauf, who admits to having “weaknesses”, will be working with bowling coach Waqar Younis, with whom he worked in the nets in the Bangladesh series. Only 26 years old, Rauf has “144-145 kph” pace in his arsenal, which is why his training is focused on learning new tricks and consistency rather than “thinking about bowling my fastest delivery.”
He said, “I didn’t know about using the crease and bowling reverse yorkers but Waqar bhai helped me. The process of how to bowl those yorkers and the control he had, I’ll never be able to have that control ever. So I am asking him a lot of questions and working with him. Learning all these new things is very exciting. This will only be an advantage for me in international cricket.”
Rauf talked about how he utilized the spare time during lockdown. He said, “In the last two months, I have worked extensively on my weaker muscles to make them strong. I have known injuries as a fast bowler, it can come anywhere, anytime and it is a part and parcel of the game. In England and Australia, grounds are relatively softer than in Pakistan, so that’s a slight problem. But then you work on your fitness and make sure you get your bases covered. I remember in a video session with Wasim Akram, he guided us that we have to strengthen our hamstring and lower back because these are the muscles most likely to pick up injuries there (in England).”