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Haris Rauf Faces Potential Contract Downgrade and Big Bash League Denial

Fast bowler, Haris Rauf, is currently facing a potential downgrade in his central contract with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). This comes after Rauf decided to opt out of the upcoming three-match Test series in Australia. The decision has not only put his central contract at risk but could also deny him the opportunity to participate in the Big Bash League.

Rauf’s decision has reportedly upset some senior officials within the PCB. His Lahore Qalandars coach, Aqib Javed, defended Rauf, which has further fueled the controversy. The new chief selector for Pakistan, Wahab Riaz, criticized Rauf for initially agreeing to be considered for the Tests in Australia, only to make himself unavailable two days later, citing workload and fitness concerns.

Riaz, a former fast bowler who has appeared in three World Cups, stated that as a centrally contracted player, Rauf should have been available for the Test series. He further added that both the captain and coach wanted Rauf to play in Australia as he was an impact bowler.

Despite the team physio and trainer confirming that Rauf had no fitness issues and would face no problems in Australia, Rauf insisted that he had never made himself available for the Tests. He stated that he wanted to focus on white ball cricket and manage his workload.

The PCB is now considering revising Rauf’s contract, given that 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. This category is typically reserved for players who are considered for all formats.

The PCB may ask Rauf for his final decision on red-ball cricket and revise his contract accordingly. Rauf also has the option of going freelance and returning the central contract to the board, similar to other international players like Trent Bolt and Jason Roy. The PCB may also withhold an NOC for Rauf to play in the Big Bash.

In December 2022, Rauf participated in a single Test match against England in Rawalpindi. However, his appearance was cut short as he bowled only 13 overs before sustaining an injury.

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