Karachi [Pakistan], November 21 (ANI): Pakistan chief selector Wahab Riaz attacked speedster Haris Rauf for backing out from the forthcoming Australia Tests and said that it would hurt the 'Men in Green'.
While announcing the 18-member squad of Pakistan for their tour of Australia, the chief selector revealed that Rauf agreed to play Test cricket for the 'Men in Green' but later changed his mind.
"We spoke to Haris Rauf for this tour. 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. We spoke to Haris and he was worried about his body and fitness, as well as his workload. Mohammad Hafeez and I sat with him and tried to facilitate him in every way. We told him even if he didn't perform well there, we would accept it," Wahab said as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
He added that the physio of the Pakistan Cricket Team spoke to the pacer and confirmed that there was no issue of injury.
Wahab added that Rauf's last-moment decision could hurt Pakistan in their upcoming Test series.
"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 he made himself unavailable. I think this will hurt Pakistan cricket," he added.
The newly appointed chief selector gave a stern warning to Rauf and said that it is his duty to serve Pakistan since the pacer is a centrally contracted cricketer.
"I've played with most of these boys and I have a great relationship with them," Wahab said. "But when it comes to professionalism, we have to look at what's best for Pakistan. Haris was unavailable after the England series and not a part of any other Test series. When you are a centrally contracted player, it is your duty to serve Pakistan. I'm not disappointed, but the same players will later complain they weren't given the opportunity, and people will ask why such and such player wasn't selected," he added.
Pakistan Test squad will tour Australia for three Test matches scheduled from December 14 to January 7, 2024. Following the recent ICC World Cup 2023, Pakistani cricket has seen many changes, including the departure of Babar Azam in his role as captain. Following this, Shan Masood will lead the Test squad.
Pakistan squad for Australia Tests: Shan Masood (C), 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. (ANI)