Pakistani fast-bowler Haris Rauf is hoping to get picked in the squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia after his recent string of impressive performances in the Big Bash League (BBL) and Pakistan Super League (PSL), ESPNcricinfo has reported.
Rauf, who has bagged 13 wickets for Melbourne Stars including a hat-trick, lit up the Australian 20-over competition with his pace and ability to take wickets.
"It's a completely different experience here (in Australia)," Rauf said while speaking with ESPNcricinfo. "The standard of cricket, the crowd and the atmosphere around make you truly absorbed in the game. Every moment in the field is enjoyable and the enthusiasm from the crowd really intensifies your passion. It really is a great time out here for me and I am making most out of it. I know I have proved my potential and my next goal is to play for Pakistan in the T20 World Cup, which is also in Australia."
The 26-year-old from Rawalpindi said he never considered playing cricket as a career. "I never really planned my future in cricket. I grew up playing with a tennis ball until 2017, and never thought that I could play for Pakistan but this dream was given to me by Lahore Qalandars and Aaqib Javed's persistence with me gave me direction. He has been a driving force for me. I had a feeling that a pure fast-bowler bowling over 140kph can't be ignored in Pakistan. I have the pace, the passion, and with all the development I started to believe that I can play top-level cricket."
He went on to say that Rauf said he has been working on his fitness while taking wickets. "Fitness has been an issue because until 2017 I never really had any sense about it. Never thought about it because I had been playing tennis-ball cricket and never been disciplined with fitness and diet. I only started to hear about its importance when I signed with the Lahore Qalandars development program. In Pakistan, when you grow up as an immature cricketer the word fitness is just alien to you. You hear it, but you never really understand it's significance but when I first came Australia with Qalandars, who linked me with a club, I saw the lLifestyle of the sportsmen — how they train and how they enhance their performance. What are their routines and how they pull themselves together in the off-season to get ready for the active season. How they avoid injuries by getting fitter, so I learned all this from here and the fitter you are, the more control you have of your game and performance."
He lamented on not being able to perform with his "idol" Dale Steyn for the remainer of the Big Bash League. "I admire him a lot. He has done great for his country, he is a tremendous fast bowler and is a perfect role model for any youngster who wants to become a fast bowler. With him around, you have a lot to learn and sharing a dressing room with your hero is like a dream come true. If he isn't playing it's in a way a loss for me because I am not able to share the ball with him. His aggression is the thing I love about him. I obviously follow his work ethics, lifestyle and ability to control the line with outswingers."