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Wahab Riaz does U-turn on Haris Rauf, defends NOC given for Big Bash League ‣

Wahab Riaz does U-turn on Haris Rauf, defends NOC given for Big Bash League

Pakistan chief selector Wahab Riaz, who had slammed fast bowler Haris Rauf for opting out of the Test series in Australia, has now defended the NOC given to him to play in the Big Bash League.

Wahab, while announcing the Pakistan Test squad for the series last month had criticised Haris, for not making himself available for selection for the three games in Australia.

While talking to media on Saturday, Wahab stated that the PCB has orchestrated this NOC to ensure Haris remains in optimal form in the lead up to the T20 series in New Zealand.

“From now until the New Zealand series, there is a gap of 1.5 months during which Haris Rauf isn’t playing any cricket. His contract with Cricket Australia for the Big Bash comprises only 5 games.

“Considering the thought that there won’t be any cricket for 1.5 months and he’s a fast bowler, to ensure he maintains his rhythm, we have given him a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from December 7th to 28th.

“This will cover his 5 Big Bash matches so that he can then travel with the Pakistan team for the New Zealand tour. This is the science behind giving him the NOC,” Wahab explained.

Wahab’s comments on the pacer signalled a contrasting change in his stance.

“Two days back he (Haris) told us 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,” Wahab said at the press conference on November 20.

“I and the Director of Pakistan team, Muhammad Hafeez we went and spoke to him in detail and told him that both the captain and coach wanted him (Haris) to play in Australia as he was an impact bowler and we assured him he would not bowl more than 10-12 overs in a day in Australia,” Wahab narrated.

“As a centrally contracted player we felt he should have not taken a step back. We felt Haris, if he wanted to play for Pakistan, should as a player be ready to make a sacrifice and play for the team,” the chief selector had said.

Interestingly, Wahab at his November 20 presser had claimed that as a policy in future only those players would be considered who gave preference to play for the country.

“Any player no matter who he is or how big a player is, if he is not giving priority to the Pakistan team then he will not feature in our future plans,” he added.