Much like an elder sibling discussing their precocious younger brothers and sisters, Haris Rauf often finds himself fielding questions about Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah. Fresh from receiving his Player-of-the-Match award at the presentation ceremony, he strides into the press conference room.
Chemistry and Playing Styles
Rauf’s enthusiasm is evident as he begins to discuss his chemistry with Afridi and Naseem. He talks about the mutual confidence they provide each other and the strong bond they share. He emphasizes the importance of such relationships within a team.
Adapting to Different Bowling Styles
The conversation shifts to Rauf’s reliance on raw pace compared to Afridi and Naseem’s use of seam and swing. Rauf assures everyone that this difference in playing styles doesn’t make him “condition-proof.” He acknowledges the exceptional skills of Afridi and Naseem and notes how extra pace can sometimes come at a cost.
Emotional Insights and Team Dynamics
The discussion takes a challenging turn as Rauf is asked how he feels when Afridi and Naseem take wickets – under pressure or confidence? This question forces Rauf to reflect on the dynamics of their partnership. With a gracious laugh, he expresses the joy he derives from their individual qualities.
Rauf’s Unique Persona and Perspective
Haris Rauf, often referred to as a ‘Pindi boy,’ has always stayed true to his identity. His journey into T20 cricket began with the Lahore Qalandars’ player development program when he still had rough edges. Rauf’s on-field aggression is distinct, but he has never sought the in-your-face approach seen in some fast bowlers.
Managing Aggression and Mateship
While Rauf’s on-field behavior may have been occasionally unorthodox, he knows when to switch it off when leaving the field. In Pakistan, such toxicity is sometimes observed among individuals who, like Rauf, find themselves in competitive situations where younger talents receive more acclaim. Rauf, however, harbors no resentment and maintains a healthy camaraderie with his counterparts.
Rauf’s Vital Role in the Team
Rauf’s importance to the team becomes evident when he takes on one of the less glamorous roles in cricket: creating opportunities during the middle overs of an ODI innings. While Afridi and Naseem grabbed headlines against India, it was Rauf who made crucial breakthroughs after the initial hour.
A Humble Achievement Amidst the Limelight
Despite taking two early wickets against Bangladesh, Rauf’s achievements often go unnoticed. His 50th and 51st ODI wickets for Pakistan make him the third-fastest Pakistani to reach this milestone. His superior average and strike rate compared to Afridi’s demonstrate his consistency.
Unnoticed Acts of Support
During a critical over, Rauf set up the tail-enders for Naseem, allowing him to regain his confidence after an injury scare. This selfless act showcases the camaraderie between the teammates.
The Team’s Spirit and Unity
A recent in-house interview with the PCB highlighted the unity of the pace trio. Rauf, even when awarded Player of the Match, emphasized what he learned from Afridi and Naseem. Their laughter and camaraderie on and off the field exemplify how teams are built and how they gel, as Rauf eloquently articulated in the post-Bangladesh press conference.