Wednesday Jan 26, 2022
KARACHI: Pakistan pacer Haris Rauf, who is part of the Lahore Qalandars in the seventh edition of the hi-octane Pakistan Super League (PSL), has said that the preparation for the tournament is in full swing and he aims to give his best and help the squad with doing well in the tournament.
"Our first goal as a team is to qualify for the play-offs, then reach the finale and lift the PSL trophy," Rauf said in an exclusive interview to Geo News.
He said that Qalandars' captain Shaheen has had great interaction with the team members as the new captain and has spoken with them on the strategy they need to adopt.
Everyone on the team is eager for the PSL to begin, he added.
The 28-year-old fast bowler spoke in detail about his bowling strategy, his journey, his future plans, and his interaction with Indian cricketers on the sidelines of the T20 World Cup matches.
Haris had emerged from Lahore Qalandars’ player development programme and soon got everyone’s attention due to his fearsome bowling speed. He made his international debut in 2020, only two years after being noticed in a talent hunt by the franchise.
“If I look back and recall where I was three years ago, I ask what would’ve happened had I not passionately travelled to Gujranwala to appear in trials by Lahore Qalandars. I would’ve probably been doing some government job,” he said.
“I am thankful to Lahore Qalandars for everything they did for me in the last three years. For making a no-one to a Pakistan team player."
The pacer said that his journey with Qalandars has taught him a lot and has made him a much better bowler.
Recalling his journey, Haris said that he hadn’t played hardball cricket before coming to the open trials by Lahore Qalandars. He said that after joining Qalandars, he toured Australia and got better with each match he played since then.
However, he said, he is still learning and trying to improve even more to prepare himself for modern-day cricket where batters can hit the bowler anywhere in the ground by innovating shots.
"In such a scenario, the main thing is to become mentally strong,” Haris said.
As he talked about his bowling strategy for the PSL season 7, Haris revealed that his main focus during matches is to deliver maximum dot balls rather than taking wickets because dot balls always force batters to commit mistakes.
"I prefer to go for delivering dot balls instead of focusing on taking wickets," he said.
This is, according to Haris, because a bowler puts pressure on the batter by delivering dot balls, making him commit a mistake that could automatically get the bowler a wicket.
“I usually bowl in middle and death overs, a part of the inning where you’ve to block the runs since the batters are usually settled and going for big shots. In such situations, I try for dot balls than aggressively looking for wickets,” Haris said.
He said that his "weapon" in this case is his yorker. He believes that he can deliver a yorker whenever he wants, which is why he can comfortably rely on such delivery.
"I also try to bowl slower ones where needed,” he added.
Haris said that he just wants to give his best in every match he plays without worrying about results.
“I want to go back to my room with the satisfaction that I did whatever I could instead of regretting about things that I didn’t or couldn’t do,” the fast bowler said.
Talking about the Men in Green, the fast bowler said that all the players are gelled together under the leadership of Babar Azam and the captain has created a good environment in the dressing room.
“Babar leads from the front and sets examples for everyone, the rest of the members are automatically motivated to follow him. When the players see that captain is giving his all, they also try to do the same," he said.
According to Haris, everyone has just one thing in mind that keeps everyone charged in the field is to become the number one team.
“I am really happy to see the way team played and then three of the players winning the ICC annual awards. This has motivated me and others as well. We all will now aim to keep playing better cricket and bring the award in the country once again,” the fast bowler said.
Haris Rauf hoped that the Pakistan team will continue to play the same way in the year 2022 and bring more laurels to the country.
When asked about his most memorable performance in T20 World Cup, Haris singled out the game against India, instead of the world cup match against New Zealand where he won the man of the match.
Haris got a wicket conceding 25 runs in four overs against India while the Indian batters could earn only one boundary off Rauf’s bowling. The fast bowler believes that he achieved what he aimed for in the match against India.
“I wanted to bowl economically and stop runs and that’s what I did. I did win the man of the match against New Zealand, but the match against India was more memorable for me,” the Qalandars’ bowler said.
He recalled that it was his first game against India so he was under pressure, but he is happy that he was able to bowl well under pressure against them even in a World Cup match.
Although the match was the first against India for Haris, the Pakistani pacers had bowled against the Indian batters at nets before. Haris also got this opportunity in Sydney when he was in Australia for domestic cricket while India were touring for a Test series in 2019.
“It was preparation for a different format but I did bowl against India and got to learn a lot from Hardik Pandya. While bowling at nets I realized how far I lag behind the international level and then Pandya guided me,” he recalled.
“When we met again in the T20 World Cup match, I found out that they [KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya] remembered me.
He said that Pandya told me that he was happy to see him featuring in the Australian Big Bash League and later for Pakistan.