Pakistan pacer Haris Rauf’s participation in the Big Bash League 2023-24 is facing a potential hurdle as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is expected to delay the issuance of the No-Objection Certificate (NOC) required for his participation in the league.
According to ESPNCricinfo, Rauf’s NOC is likely to face a delay at least till December 11, just four days after the start of the BBL. There is no confirmation of an immediate release thereafter.
The explanation for the delay revolves around the ongoing National T20 Cup in Pakistan, scheduled for December 10, in which the PCB expects Haris Rauf to participate fully.
Last week, Wahab Riaz, Pakistan’s newly appointed chief selector, revealed that Rauf had refused to play in Pakistan’s Test series in Australia scheduled for December-January.
Wahab openly expressed his displeasure with Rauf’s decision, with the two sides disagreeing about the events that led to this point. The 30-year-old reportedly cited his inexperience in Test cricket as the reason he did not agree to play in Australia. Rauf conveyed to Wahab that focusing on his white ball game and fitness would be more beneficial.
Rauf’s possible absence from the BBL could raise concerns, especially for the Melbourne Stars, who had signed him as a key player. Rauf was initially expected to miss the BBL only during Pakistan’s five-match T20 series in New Zealand in mid-January. However, further delays could disrupt the league’s plans.
The Melbourne Stars had introduced special subscriptions called “House of Rauf” for the first three matches at the MCG this year, along with a special seating area called Haris Rauf Bay.
The continued delays in the issuance of Rauf’s NOC may raise concerns among Pakistan’s centrally contracted players in general. Two more players, Usama Mir (Melbourne Stars) and Zaman Khan (Sydney Thunder), are also selected for the league.
Contract talks between the PCB and the players hit a snag, partly due to disagreements over the number of foreign leagues the players could participate in annually. They seem to have settled on a limit of two leagues, subject to the PCB issuing an NOC for participation.
The BBL is set to start from December 7, 2023 to January 24, 2024.
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