Haris Rauf's involvement in the BBL is likely to encounter a hurdle, as the Pakistan Cricket Board is anticipated to postpone the issuance of the No-Objection Certificate (NOC) necessary for his participation in the league.
According to ESPNCricinfo, Rauf's NOC is highly likely to face a delay until at least December 11, just four days after the commencement of the BBL. There's no confirmation regarding an immediate issuance thereafter.
The explanation for the delay cites the National T20 Cup in Pakistan, which is scheduled until December 10, a tournament that the PCB anticipates Haris Rauf to fully engage in.
Last week, Wahab Riaz, Pakistan's recently appointed chief selector, revealed that Rauf had declined participation in Pakistan's Test series in Australia slated for December-January.
Wahab openly expressed his displeasure at Rauf's decision, yet both sides disagree on the specific events leading up to this point.
Reportedly, the 30-year-old 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.
Rauf's absence from the BBL is likely to cause concern within the league, particularly for Melbourne Stars, who had signed the Pakistani fast bowler as a key player. Initially, it was assumed Rauf would only miss the BBL during Pakistan's five-match T20 series in New Zealand in mid-January. However, further delays will disrupt the league's plans.
Melbourne Stars had also introduced special memberships named "House of Rauf" for the initial three games at the MCG this year, as well as the dedicated seating zone called Haris Rauf Bay.
Continued delays in Rauf's NOC issuance might raise concerns among Pakistan's centrally contracted players in general. Two more players - Usama Mir (Melbourne Stars) and Zaman Khan (Sydney Thunders) are also selected for the league.
Ongoing contract discussions between the PCB and the players encountered obstacles, partly due to disagreements over the number of foreign leagues players could participate in annually.
It's understood they settled on a limit of two leagues, subject to the PCB issuing an NOC for participation.
The BBL is scheduled to run from December 7, 2023, to January 24 next year.