Haris Rauf recalls how injury lay-off became a 'blessing in disguise'

"If you believe in yourself, then layoff can be a blessing in disguise," says Pakistan's right-arm fast

Sports Desk
Haris Rauf recalls how injury lay-off became a blessing in disguise
Pakistan's Haris Rauf reacts after a delivery during World Cup 2023 match, New Zealand vs Pakistan, M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru, November 4, 2023. — AFP

Pakistan paceman Haris Rauf believes that the three months he spent on the sidelines injured with a dislocated shoulder could yet prove a "blessing in disguise", as he gears up for the Twenty20 World Cup.

The 30-year-old fast bowler made an encouraging return to competitive cricket, taking 2-34, in the second match of Pakistan's warm-up series against T20 world champions England in Birmingham on Saturday.

"I was injured [for] the last few months but if you believe in yourself, then the layoff can be a blessing in disguise," he told a pre-match press conference in Cardiff on Monday ahead of the third T20.

"Because you have time to recover and reassess your game-plans. I felt good coming back to cricket. When you play for your country, it makes you very proud."

As for the mental and physical strain of returning from injury for a fast bowler, Rauf said: "It's hard. It's a struggle during your rehab, and it's difficult when you come back to maintain that pace and accuracy. But if you believe in yourself, it makes things easier. When I wasn't in the team and rehabbing, I had a lot of time to think about my game and work on myself.

"Thankfully I'm back now, and the World Cup is coming up."

Rauf's return at Edgbaston could not prevent Pakistan suffering a 23-run defeat by England as they fell 1-0 behind in the four-match series with two to play following a washed-out opener.

But Rauf insisted Pakistan, the 2009 T20 world champions, remained in optimistic mood ahead of their opening match at this year's global showpiece against co-hosts the United States in Dallas on June 6.

"When you lose a game it hurts, but as a team, we are confident," he said. "We feel we can beat any opposition on any day. We've done it in the past, too. When you make mistakes you learn and try not to repeat those mistakes. We're looking to play better in the next few games and make a comeback.

"The camp is relaxed. We're enjoying ourselves. We're trying to follow our game-plans and execute them well. The results haven't often been in our favour recently but if you stick to your plans they can sometimes follow."

England will lock horns against Pakistan in the T20I at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Tuesday, May 28.

The hosts are 1-0 up in the four-match series after defeating Babar Azam and his men in the second T20Is courtesy of standout performances from captain Jos Buttler, Will Jacks, Moeen Ali, and Jofra Archer.

Likely lineups

Pakistan: Usman Khan, Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam (c), Fakhar Zaman, Azam Khan (wk), Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Amir, Abrar Ahmed

England: Jonny Bairstow, Phil Salt (wk), Will Jacks, Harry Brook, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali (c), Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer, Chris Jordan, Reece Topley