Haris Rauf
Haris Rauf Image Credit: PCB

Dubai: Lahore Qalandars pacer Haris Rauf, who destroyed Karachi Kings with a haul of four for 23, is being talked about as Pakistan cricket’s next big thing.

This right arm pacer can consistently bowl at over 150kmph and on Saturday night, he took wickets with deliveries which regularly clocked over 140kmph.

Rauf, for whom this was only the fourth T20 game, was spotted by Lahore team coach Aaqib Javed through the Player Development Programme and he hasn’t even played in any first class matches.

In the trials, he bowled at 148kmph though it was the first time he was bowling with a hard ball.

Speaking to Gulf News, Javed said: “Watch out for Rauf. He is going to be a top class bowler. He can generate excellent pace of around 150kmph. We took him to Australia and has come back a very fine bowler.”

Rauf was working in a local market in Rawalpindi for a daily wage of Pakistan Rs250 (Dh8) before Qalandars picked him and gave him a contract.

The first time Rauf’s skill came to the fore was in Abu Dhabi last year when he bowled Lahore Qalandars to victory in the Abu Dhabi Cup.

After bagging the Man of the Match against Karachi Kings, Rauf thanked the Lahore team management for grooming him. “I was selected in 2017 from the Player Development Programme. They have worked very hard with me after they picked me for their academy and sent me to Australia, where I trained. After my return, I stayed with them at the academy. Aqeeb bhai (brother) has been working on my bowling.”

Speaking about his Abu Dhabi experience where he caught everyone’s attention, Rauf said: “I played in the Abu Dhabi Cup and helped Lahore Qalandars win. When I bowled today (against Karachi), that match in Abu Dhabi came into my mind. I bowled to my strengths and won the match.”

Rauf had to overcome a lot of obstacles to become a cricketer as his family believed that he was ‘wasting’ his time on street cricket.

His father, a government servant, even threw away his trophies, asking him to concentrate on his studies.

“My family was always against me playing cricket. Some of the trophies I won were thrown away as my parents wanted me to become an engineer or a doctor, but I used to run away and play cricket. Finally, I have achieved my initial goals.”