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Wednesday Oct 23 2019

Haris Rauf credits Lahore Qalandars for identifying his skill

KARACHI: It was a bright sunny day in 2017 when an unknown but passionate cricketer from Rawalpindi travelled to Gujranwala with a dream of playing top level cricket.

In Gujranwala, he appeared at Player Development Program trials by Lahore Qalandars. Since then, he hasn’t looked back.

He’s Haris Rauf.

On Wednesday, 25-year old Haris Rauf bowled one of the best spells of his career to defend 8 runs off final over for Northern against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

His disciplined bowling in Faisalabad’s Iqbal Stadium reminded many of his similar spell that he bowled in October last year to help Lahore Qalandars beat South African side Multiply Titans in the final of Abu Dhabi Cup.

“Even I was recalling that final over that I bowled in Abu Dhabi last year. I was discussing the same with Sohail Akhtar who was my captain there that how I defended 19 off final over then, but today I had to defend only 8 runs and I am glad that I was able to do so,” Rauf told in an exclusive chat.

Two years back, many wouldn’t have known Haris. He had never played proper professional cricket before being picked by Qalandars during PDP trials in 2017 where his fiery pace impressed Aqib Javed and co.

Back in Rawalpindi, Rauf — son of a government servant — used to work at a shop as a part-time salesman where his daily earning was around Rs250. He also made some extra cash by playing tape ball cricket.

“I had never thought that I would play like this one day and all credit goes to Lahore Qalandars,” he said.

“Whatever I am today, it is because of Lahore Qalandars. I will always be indebted to them. I will stay with Qalandars till the last game of my career,” he aimed.

Rauf twice toured Australia with Qalandars PDP squad where his performance got him signed by Australian club Hawkesbury. He also bowled Kohli and co at nets during Australian team’s tour to Pakistan.

Rauf believes that the tour to Australia changed his life.

“That was the moment when things changed to me and once again, credit goes to Lahore. I wouldn’t have been here if I wasn’t picked by Qalandars.”

While Rauf is thankful to Qalandars for bringing him into limelight, the owners of team say they’re proud of the fast bowler.

“It was great feeling to see Haris achieving on field, he’s our product and we feel proud of him,” said Atif Rana, the CEO of PSL team Lahore Qalandars.

Rana said that players like Haris Rauf and Sohail Akhtar are product of the player development program.

“This is result of our PDP, it was aimed to support Pakistan Cricket and Pakistan Cricket has now finally started getting fruits of our selfless efforts during last three years,” Rana said while expressing hope that the day isn’t far when Haris Rauf will don Pakistan colors.