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PCB Axes Haris Rauf from Central Contract Over Australia Tour Refusal

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has taken a stern action against fast bowler Haris Rauf, who declined to be part of Pakistan’s Test squad for the tour of Australia 2023-24, by terminating his central contract and barring him from playing in any overseas T20 leagues until June 30, 2024.

The PCB announced the decision on Thursday, after conducting a thorough hearing process with Rauf and finding his response unsatisfactory. The PCB said that Rauf’s refusal to play for Pakistan in the absence of any medical report or valid reason was a serious breach of his central contract.

Rauf had withdrawn from the Test squad before it was announced, citing workload management and personal fitness as the reasons. However, he later participated in the Big Bash League (BBL) for Melbourne Stars, which raised questions over his commitment and loyalty to the national team.

The PCB said that playing for Pakistan was the ultimate honour and privilege for any sportsperson, and that Rauf’s decision had disappointed the board, the team management, and the fans.

Rauf has only played one Test match for Pakistan, making his debut against England in 2022 in Rawalpindi. He has been a regular member of Pakistan’s limited-overs sides, taking 69 wickets in 37 ODIs and 90 wickets in 66 T20Is.

The 30-year-old is currently part of the Lahore Qalandars squad and is gearing up for the ninth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), which begins on February 17.

Rauf’s termination of contract and NOC means that he will not be able to play in any foreign T20 leagues, such as the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), or the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), until June 30, 2024. He will also miss out on the lucrative contracts and exposure that these leagues offer.

Rauf’s case has sparked a debate among the cricket fraternity and the fans, with some supporting the PCB’s decision and others criticising it as harsh and unfair. Some have also questioned the PCB’s inconsistency and double standards in dealing with such issues, as other players have been given leniency and exemptions in the past.

Rauf’s exclusion from the Test squad for Australia had left a big gap in Pakistan’s pace attack, as they suffered a 3-0 whitewash in the three-match series. Rauf participated in the T20 series held in New Zealand, however, his performance did not meet the usual standards. This was further evident in the subsequent T20 series against New Zealand, where Pakistan suffered a 4-1 loss. Rauf is expected to feature in Pakistan’s upcoming white-ball series against England in May.

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