Fast bowler Haris Rauf is relishing an extended stay in the Big Bash League – and has targeted a berth in Pakistan‘s squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.
Rauf joined the Melbourne Stars as brief cover in the absence of fast bowler Dale Steyn. His stay has been prolonged after England's Pat Brown was ruled out of the BBL due to injury.
Right-armer Rauf has taken 13 wickets in four matches, including a hat-trick against the Sydney Thunder, during the 2019-20 BBL.
He has represented the Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League. Rauf hasn't been capped at international level, though.
“It's a completely different experience here. The standard of cricket, the crowd and the atmosphere around make you truly absorbed in the game. Every moment in the field is enjoyable and the enthusiasm from the crowd really intensifies your passion,” Rauf told ESPNcricinfo.
“It is a really great time out here for me and I am making most out of it. I know I have proved my potential and my next goal is to play for Pakistan in the T20 World Cup, which is also in Australia.
“I never really planned my future in cricket. I grew up playing with a tennis ball until 2017, and never thought that I could play for Pakistan. But this dream was given to me by the Lahore Qalandars. I have the pace, the passion, and with all the development I started to believe that I can play top-level cricket.”
Pakistan have been grouped with Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies for the T20 World Cup. Dafabet have priced Pakistan at 11.50 to win the 2020 T20 World Cup. Pakistan won the first ever World Twenty20 final (since renamed the T20 World Cup) to India in 2007. In 2009, Pakistan won the T20 World Cup after beating Sri Lanka in the final. Overall, Pakistan have won 19 and lost 14 T20 World Cup matches.
Rauf talks about Steyn
In the meantime, Rauf is eager to draw on the experienced gained from playing with Steyn. The Proteas pace ace has retired from Test cricket, but is also pushing for selection for the T20 World Cup squad.
“Dale has done great for his country, he is a tremendous fast bowler and is a perfect role model for any youngster who wants to become a fast bowler. With him around you have a lot to learn and sharing a dressing room with your hero is like a dream come true,” concluded Rauf.