Director Lahore Qalandars and former Pakistan pacer Aaqib Javed has doubts about the choices made by Chief Selector Wahab Riaz for the upcoming Test series against Australia.
The 18-player squad, revealed on Monday, has caused concern, especially with the absence of bowler Haris Rauf.
Aaqib criticised the selectors during a media talk in Lahore on Tuesday, accusing them of pushing Haris and creating undue pressure for him to play Test cricket.
"Haris Rauf has been playing T20 cricket, he hasn't played Test cricket for a year, so how can they play him? Haris played one Test and became unfit. PCB claims they will respect players, on the other hand, they put pressure on them," Aaqib said.
"Right now there is no logic that you are telling Haris to play Test cricket. On what performance are you telling Haris to play in the Australia series?" he questioned.
Aaqib Javed bluntly voiced his worry about the team's capability to perform and win Tests in Australia.
"Pakistan teams with big names went to Australia but couldn't win. If Pakistan can avoid a whitewash in this series, it will be a big feat," he remarked.
During the press conference on November 20, 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