Newly-appointed Chief Selector Wahab Riaz announced an 18-man Pakistani squad to take on Australia in a three-match Test series which is set to begin on 14 December.
During the press conference, right after announcing the squad, Riaz stated that pacer Haris Rauf backed out of the squad at the last moment after confirming his availability earlier and said that his exclusion could hurt Pakistan cricket.
However, according to a report by ESPN Cricinfo, a source very close to the Rawalpindi-born, he never agreed to play Test cricket in Australia citing his inexperience in the format.
Rauf told Wahab that he hasn’t played much Test cricket and it would be better if he worked on his white-ball game and the fitness, the report added.
Riaz had said was ready to feature in the Australia series but he changed his mind on Sunday night (November 19).
"We spoke to Haris Rauf about this tour two days ago, and he gave his consent to playing Tests for Pakistan. However, he changed his mind last night and didn't want to be a part of this Australia Test series,” Riaz said.
“He was worried about fitness issues and workload. We gave him assurances that we will facilitate him and accept any potential failures. Our physio said he has no injury concerns. He is fatigued, but we could have managed him well. However, he pulled out and is unavailable for this tour. I think this could hurt Pakistan cricket.
"We spoke to the captain and coach, and they wanted to utilise Haris Rauf as an impact player in Test cricket. We weren't demanding more than 10-12 overs a day from him, which he has done in ODIs. Our frontline Test bowling options who bowl 140+ and can create an impact are unfit, all three of them. As a player, I think you need to sacrifice in such a situation and look to play for Pakistan rather than moving back."
Although Rauf hasn’t said a word publicly about the matter but the rising tension between the player and selector can cast troubles for him as his commitment in the upcoming Big Bash League as the 30-year-old would require a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to participate.
Shan Masood (c), Aamir Jamal, Abdullah Shafiq, Abrar Ahmed, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Khurram Shahzad, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Nauman Ali, Saim Ayub, Salman Ali Agha, Shaheen Afridi, Saud Shakeel, Sarfaraz Ahmed
Schedule of Pakistan’s Test tour of Australia
First Test: December 14-18, Perth Stadium
Second Test: December 26-30, Melbourne Cricket Ground
Third Test: January 3-7, Sydney Cricket Ground