LAHORE, Jan 21 (APP):Haris Rauf has had a meteoric rise since he appeared in Lahore Qalandars’ trials in Gujranwala two years ago.

The right-arm pacer has since gained admirers wherever he has played.

He recently made headlines during his stint in the Big Bash League, while turning out for Melbourne Stars, and used the opportunity to stake a claim in the Pakistan national men’s team.

“With the T20 World Cup later this year in Australia, I wanted to put up impressive performances and prove myself in the BBL as I knew they will get me selected in the national side,” Haris said here on Tuesday after joining the Pakistan team’s camp.

He rose to prominence for delivering the fastest ball in those trials. Because of his ability to touch 150kmph mark, Haris has been given a nickname of “150” by his teammates.
“Nobody calls me Haris in the Northern team,” chuckles Haris, “everyone refers to me as 150 and I even write 150 in my autographs.”

Haris lighted up the ongoing BBL with probing spells which not only brought his quick pace in the limelight, but also his ability to use variations at crucial junctures of a match something that his hattrick against Sydney Thunder encapsulated.

He picked up first two wickets on the balls which stayed in mid-120kmphs before unleashing a 145kmph delivery that thudded on Daniel Sams pads to trap him LBW.

He was the second leading wicket-taker in the BBL with 16 wickets in seven matches at an average of 11.56 when he was named in the Pakistan side for a three-match T20I series which begins later this week.

For his extraordinary run in the tournament, Haris earned praises of legendary cricketers, including Waqar Younis, former Pakistan Test captain and current bowling coach.
“Waqar bhai was in touch with me and he used to encourage me to work hard,” Haris said. “It is always heartening to hear legendary players praise your performances and it gives you more confidence in your abilities.

“I had that thought in my mind that if I continue to perform I might get selected for the national side. I knew that I had to bowl above 140kmph to get selected for the Pakistan side as quick bowlers get the recognition.”

In Dale Steyn, Haris had an idol in the Melbourne Stars camp and he made the most of his presence by spending time with him during net sessions.

“I was extremely delighted to know that I was going to play with Dale Steyn as he is my idol,” he said. “Sharing the dressing room with him helped me a great deal as I got to work on my outswing with him. We had a couple of net sessions in which he taught me how to control it.”

Originally signed as the South African pacer’s replacement, Haris was retained for the whole tournament after an injury to Pat Brown. Whether he was under any pressure while replacing his favourite pacer?

“There was no such pressure; in fact it was a proud moment for me that I was replacing my idol. I wanted to fill in his shoes and bring out the performances which the team had expected from him.”

Haris now has his eyes set on Pakistan debut and wishes to make it a “memorable one”. “I will put my hundred per cent,” he said.