Sunday Feb 17, 2019
DUBAI: It was September 2017 when a boy named Haris Rauf came to Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium to appear in trials conducted by Lahore Qalandars as part of their countrywide player development programme.
But due to a large number of aspiring cricketers present for the trials, he couldn’t give his trials in his hometown.
Not one to lose hope, Haris travelled to Gujranwala and appeared in trials there. The first ball he delivered was recorded at 148km/h. That was enough for the coaches to pick him for Lahore Qalandars development squad.
On Saturday, Haris bowled the most memorable bowling spell of his life to help Lahore Qalandars beat Karachi Kings by 22 runs in Dubai, taking four wickets for 23 runs.
“It’s like a dream come true for me,” Haris told Geo after receiving the Player of the Match award for his fairy tale performance.
“I had never played proper cricket before appearing in the trials for Qalandars, it was the first time I bowled with the hard ball,” he recalled.
The 25-year old gave credit to Lahore Qalandars for “changing his life” saying that it is all because of the hard work by the franchise, especially Director Cricket Operations Aaqib Javed and CEO Atif Rana.
“I am with them for over one and a half year, they sent me to Australia as well where my cricket was improved a lot,” he said.
Talking about the game against Karachi Kings, he said that his only aim was to restrict their batting.
“My favourite wicket of all four was the one of Mohammad Rizwan as I had fumbled a catch just before that over.”
Haris said that he had never trusted cricket trials before coming to the trials conducted by Qalandars for the player development programme.
“I always thought that these trials are just to accommodate players who have connections but Lahore Qalandars’ player development programme is different and it indeed gives players a chance to show off their talent,” he said.
Haris said that before joining Lahore Qalandars, he used to work at a local market in Rawalpindi for daily wages of 250 to 300 PKR, but then the Qalandars offered him a contract.
He has been bowling consistently with speeds of 140km/h+ and has already set his eyes on higher goals.
“I want to deliver the fastest ball in PSL, and Insha’Allah I will do that in this tournament,” he shared.