PSL star Haris Rauf to feature in Abu Dhabi T10 despite late withdrawal of Pakistan players

Qalandars to rely on local talent, senior players unhappy with sudden turn of events

Sharjah, United Arab Emirates - February 23, 2019:  Lahore's Haris Rauf takes the wicked of Quetta's Umar Akmal during the game between Lahore Qalandars and Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League. Saturday the 23rd of February 2019 at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Haris Rauf will be playing in the Abu Dhabi T10, as the league continues to piece together its playing resources after the sudden withdrawal of a raft of Pakistani players.

The fast bowler was a breakout star in the Pakistan Super League last season. He has been confirmed in the Qalandars squad for the 10-over league, which starts on November 15 at Zayed Cricket Stadium.

The arrangements for the tournament were thrown into chaos after the Pakistan Cricket Board revoked the 'no-objection' certificates of 26 contracted players last week.

The NOCs had been granted ahead of the player draft on October 16.

Mohammed Amir became the number one pick, when he was signed by Team Abu Dhabi, and a number of other star name Pakistanis were recruited, too.

However, days later the PCB reversed their decision. They withdrew permission for the players to play in the league, instructed them to focus on domestic cricket instead, and attend a training camp in Lahore.

It means the players will miss out on over $1 million (Dh 3.6m) in fees between them, with Amir himself due to land $45,000 for spearheading the Team Abu Dhabi attack.

Senior Pakistan players, many of whom are no longer involved in the red-ball cricket which will be happening in Pakistan at the time, are said to be unhappy at the lost earnings.

For example, Shoaib Malik, who was due in Dubai on Monday in his role as vice-captain of the Delhi Bulls, is understood to still be hopeful of playing in the competition. He retired from Test cricket four years ago.

Qalandars, a new addition to this year’s tournament, are the side worst hit by the confusion.

Mohammed Hafeez, Imad Wasim, and Faheem Ashraf had all been due to join their ranks for the tournament.

However, the team, who represent the Lahore-based PSL franchise of the same name, will be able to call on the likes of Shahid Afridi and Imran Nazir, as well as their own home produced talent.

That includes Rauf, the former street cricket who was touted for a call up to the Pakistan squad after his excellence in the PSL in Dubai earlier this year.

“We will definitely be playing, there is no doubt about that, despite the puzzling decision not to give players their NOCs,” Sameen Rana, the chief executive of Qalandars, said.

Rana said six products of the Qalandars’ development programme – Rauf, Sohail Khan, Maaz Khan, Majid Ali, Ahsan Mirza, Dilbar Hussain – will all be involved.

“They have no obligation to apply an NOC from the PCB, they are contractually bound to the Qalandars,” Rana said.

“There is no shortage of talent in our team, and we will definitely be competitive.

“It would have been better to have the experienced players here for them to learn from each other.

"That would have benefited not only Lahore Qalandars, not only Pakistan cricket, but world cricket.”