Pakistan fast bowler Haris Rauf pulled out of the Test series against Australia, driving chief selector Wahab Riaz to issue a warning to players to prioritise national duties and any non-compliance will lead to them getting sidelined.
Riaz announced an 18-member squad for the three Test series in Australia on Monday and said Rauf needed to make a sacrifice and play for Pakistan. “Two days back he (Haris) told us that he was available for the Test series and last night he said he had worries over his workload and fitness issues so he was not available,” said Riaz.
The former fast bowler said he along with Muhammad Hafeez, the newly-appointed Director of Pakistan team, had a detailed chat with Rauf. “I and Hafeez spoke to him (Rauf) in detail and told him that both the captain and coach wanted him to play in Australia, as he was an impact bowler.
“We assured him that he would not bowl more then 10-12 overs in a day in Australia,” Riaz explained. “We also spoke to the team physio and trainer and they said Rauf had no fitness issues and there would be no problem with him in Australia. As a centrally contracted player we felt he should have not taken a step back.”
Riaz said in the absence of a few injured topline players, Rauf would have been handy Down Under. “We felt that with Naseem (Shah), Muhammad Hasnain and Ehsanullah unavailable due to injuries, Rauf, if he wanted to play for Pakistan, should have made a sacrifice and played for the team,” said Riaz.
Riaz made it clear that players who are willing to stand up for the country will be given preference in future when it comes to team selection. “Any player, no matter who he is or how big a player he is, if he is not giving priority to the Pakistan team then he will not feature in our future plans,” he added.
The former left-arm quick said he wanted to prepare a pool of good standby players and not have to depend on just 15-16 players as happened before the World Cup.
He said more young players would be given exposure in T20 cricket so that there would be more players to choose from for next year’s T20 World Cup. Riaz said Naseem Shah would be ready to start bowling again at 50 to 60 percent after three to four weeks. “He is still in rehab recovering from his shoulder surgery.”
Pakistan squad for Australia series: Shan Masood (captain), Aamir Jamal, Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Khurram Shahzad, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Noman Ali, Saim Ayub, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Saud Shakeel and Shaheen Shah Afridi.