Saturday Oct 17, 2020
It was a warm afternoon in Gujranwala on 20th of September 2017. The Gujranwala Cricket Stadium was brimming with aspiring cricketers wanting a shot at Lahore Qalandars’ trials for their player development program.
Among the thousands, there was a certain Haris Rauf, who had travelled to Gujranwala from Rawalpindi to try his luck.
He was 22 then but still clocked 92mph on first attempt to attract everyone’s attention.
Rauf was immediately roped in by the Qalandars, and the rest, as they say, is history.
A complete unknown entity in September 2017 was fast-tracked and is now one of the leading bowlers of T20 format in the country.
On Friday, at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Rauf finished with figures of 3 for 28 in a National T20 Cup match for Northern against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to surpass Shaheen Shah Afridi as the highest wicket-taker of the tournament thus far.
“I still remember the day when he first appeared at the trials and now he’s our leading T20 bowler. This shows that hard work always pays off. While I appreciate head coach Aaqib Javed’s dedication for development of Haris, it is also his own hard work that has brought him to this position,” Fawad Rana, the chairman of Lahore Qalandars, told Geo Super.
“He has set an example for all the youngsters."
Rauf now has 17 wickets in the tournament, Afridi – also a Lahore Qalandars’ player - has 16.
The current form of the Qalandars duo has encouraged and reinforced the hop of Lahore Qalandars ahead of the remaining matches of PSL 2020.
“I am very excited to see Haris Rauf and Shaheen Shah Afridi on top of their game. I hope they continue with this and make us and Lahoris proud during the upcoming edition of Pakistan Super League,” said Rana.
Interestingly, Rauf and Afridi both are right at the top in the list of leading T20 wicket-takers of the year. Where Afridi has 40 in 29 games, Rauf boasts 38 in 25 T20s played in 2020.
Lahore Qalandars are set to regroup next month for the remaining matches of Pakistan Super League, which was suspended in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.