Pakistan has a history of producing tearaway fast bowlers and one more is on the horizon. Haris Rauf, a find by Aqib Javed, through the talent-hunt programme is likely to find place in the Pakistan team soon.
Rauf from Rawalpindi has announced his arrival in Pakistan Super League with a devastating spell against Karachi. He grabbed four wickets and bowled most of the deliveries at 150kph to guide Lahore Qalandars to a 22-run victory.
Rauf while talking exclusively to Khaleej Times at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Tuesday, narrated his journey from obscurity to prominence. He studied in Islamabad Model College for Boys and was part of the cricket and football teams of the institution.
He helped his school lift the football trophy and was declared the best player of the tournament. He was more interested in football than cricket and suffered a lot of rebuke from his father for not paying attention to his studies.
After joining International Islamic University, Rauf became part of the campus cricket team. It is the place where he developed the taste of the game. Earlier he used to play with tennis ball and after becoming part of the university team he started playing with the hard ball.
The turning point of Rauf's life came about when he was forced by the university team coach to appear in Lahore Qalandars trials held in Gujranwala in September 2017. Initially Rauf was reluctant to go for the trials because he had an impression that he had no chance to get selected. He thought without any backing, the selection would be almost impossible.
But lady luck smiled on him and Aqib selected him for Lahore Qalandars. He was offered a contract and the former Pakistan fast bowler took him under his wings.
Rauf later shifted to Lahore and joined Lahore Qalandars Academy situated in the Defence area.
The 24-year quickie was then sent to Australia which brought a sea-change in his perception of cricket.
The Rawalpindi boy found himself lucky because he is a fan of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, the two top batsmen of this era. He bowled Kohli during a practice match in Sydney and now he is playing under the captaincy of the South African giant, after Mohammad Hafeez got injured. He is enjoying every bit of it as De Villiers is allowing him to follow the instinct and bowl according to his plans.
The smiling Rauf said that Dale Steyn is his favourite bowler and he tries to bring that sort of aggression to his game. Since Steyn is known for his outswingers and Rauf also has specialty to bowl the outgoing delivery. He wants to learn the trick to swing the ball prodigiously. He needs to remain focused and according to fast bowler Hasan Ali, the youngster has very strong chance to play for Pakistan in near future.